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Norms Versus Interests: The European Union as a Promoter of Democracy and Human Rights in Georgia

Jessica Gould

Conceptualisations of the European Union as a Normative Power have become prominent when examining its increasing presence as a global actor. This understanding portrays the EU as a new type of actor on the international stage that emphasises non-material factors such as ideas and values in establishing the proper standards to which a state should subscribe. Such efforts were first made through the enlargement process; however, in recent years have been pursued through policies such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership, of which Georgia is part. This paper evaluates bilateral relations between the European Union and Georgia concerning the promotion of democracy and human rights, to establish the dynamics between norms/values and strategic/regional interests. Broadly this paper argues that the interconnectedness of norms and interests is clear when examining potential explanations for the advancement of bilateral relations between the European Union and Georgia. It is difficult to separate completely normative or strategic motivations for the European Union, or indeed Georgia, to be acting in the way it does.

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