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Tbilisi hosts International Conference on Democracy, Europe

By Tina Tskhovrebadze
Wednesday, September 13
On September 12-13, 2017 Georgia hosts Tbilisi International Conference: “A World in flux: The Future of Democracy, Europe and the Middle East” organized by the McCain Institute for International Leadership, Arizona State University and Economic Policy Research Center.

Political leaders from Western Europe, the United States and Georgia will discuss the vision of Europe, how Europe maintains freedom and peace, challenges for eastern European nations and strategies for future.

The first day covered three main issues: 1. Georgia Now and in the Future, 2. The Future of Liberalism, Democracy and Populism, 3. Energy in the Region: Where are we now?

Kurt Volker the Executive Director of the McCain institute for International Leadership mentioned a few important aspects in his welcoming speech. Volker defined the main aim of the conference with a short statement: “Values Matter, values of freedom, democracy, market economy, rule of law, human rights, security.”

In his speech, Volker brought a clear message of what the West can be.

“The West is not geography! The West is not a place, the West is a sort of ideas, ideas about people, how they relate to government about protecting freedom, protecting democracy, protecting families, giving opportunities for growth and for security for everybody. It is not a limited concept it’s an open concept,” Volker maintained.

Among main issues the soft-power of Russia known as propaganda, which gives negative stereotypes about Europe, was also mentioned.

Discussing the soft power, President Giorgi Margvelashvili said the propaganda serves to create a feeling that Europe will make Georgians lose their self-being and threaten their citizenship. Regarding the question, if Georgia needs more support from NATO and the EU, President Margvelashvili responded that Georgia needs more assistance and is waiting for more effective steps.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili maintained that the main focus should be not only to keep consistency towards NATO and the EU, but also to remain in line with the four- point agenda of the country that will lead Georgia to the democratic development.

The conference made it clear that Georgia is seen as a geopolitical partner of the West and seeks effective mechanisms to improve democracy and ensure economic development for further integration.