On the 29-30th of September Europe-Georgia Institute, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom South Caucasus and Strategic Dialogue Center organized the Future of the Black Sea Region Conference (FLEECE). The conference lasted for two days. On the first day international experts and their colleagues from Georgia discussed the challenges and perspectives of Black Sea Region. On the second day the junior fellows of FLEECE, who participated in the mentorship program presented the Opinion Papers written by them. Additionally to this, the second day and the conference was finalized with the online interview with the former Ambassador of the US in Georgia – Ian C. Kelly.

Experts both from Georgia and other countries participated in the conference in the hybrid mode – some of them attended it in person, while others participated via the Zoom platform.

EU/NATO Policies in the Region (Panel 2):
George Melashvili (Moderator) (Georgia), John DiPirro (United States), Roman Jakič (Slovenia), William Townsend (Great Britain), Martin Angeby (Sweden), Tony van der Togt (Netherlands)

Mr. Dipirro started discussion mostly about the democratic development of Georgia and increasing focus on a citizen, as the cornerstone and main pillar of democratic society. He also talked about the significance of increasing ties between the countries of Black Sea region – namely the ones with Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Mr. Townsend continued discussion about the empowerment of liberals in the region. He mentioned the success of the Free Democratic Party of Germany as inspiration for everyone. Later he highlighted the significance of the idea of compromise. He stated that for upcoming elections in Georgia the West is keeping an eye on both sides. Martin Angeby stressed the importance of more inclusiveness as essential for democratic development of the country. At the same time he talked about the importance of equality, including gender equality in politics. Tony van der Togt discussed the European aspirations of members of Association Trio – Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. He stated, that despite the fact that those countries are leaders in Eastern Partnership, still there is a lot of work to do and that this work can take at least a generation until full integration. That’s why he suggested maintaining expectations at a lower level and not to exaggerate them too much. He stressed on the importance of values too. Mr. Togt stated that a lot of things can be done on the way of Euro-integration with the tools that are present at the moment. Mr. Jakič mostly talked about Slovenia as an example of a small country being integrated in Euro-Atlantic structures. The Q&A session was mostly dedicated to the importance of the Black Sea Region for the West and the ways it can become even more important for it.

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