A survey conducted by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers, a programme of Eurasia Partnership Foundation, reports that Georgian society considers EU integration an inevitable process that is to take place within the next 5 years. Yet Georgian experts are less optimistic.
The Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) interviewed 1818 citizens of Georgia in July 2011 within the framework of a survey commissioned by Eurasia Partnership Foundation. The main aim was to evaluate the Eastern Partnership programme and to check citizens’ level of interest in European structures, According to the survey, 88 percent of respondents believe Georgia should become a member of the EU. Two in three consider Georgia’s priority to be joining NATO, and then the Union.
In the opinion of Kakha Gogolashvili, the director of the Center for EU Studies at the GFSIS, this process will not occur within the 5 years. The society puts NATO first as a sign of seeking security, but not necessarily in its military sense: ” Many ordinary Georgian citizens probably understood quite well that EU offers what I like to call soft power”. The Foundation interprets the poll as an expression of the pro-EU trend that not only belongs to political elites of Georgia. The respondents indicate unresolved territorial conflicts, political instability and Russian policy as the main obstacles in their country’s path towards the Union membership.
The July survey revealed also that 42 percent of the interviewees believe that there is no democracy in Georgia. However, only a slightly lower percent of them see the government going the right direction towards democratization. The CRRC poll was expected to show that after gaining the EU membership, Georgians would have been leaving their country. But the results offer quiet a contrary picture: 91 percent do not want to migrate to any Union state, 74 percent do not plan to study in the EU, and 68 percent do not intend to work there.