As much as 81% of the population of Georgia doesn’t know what the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) does, according to the 2017 Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia survey funded by the Europe Foundation and implemented by CRRC-Georgia. This lack of knowledge has increased over time, as has the prevalence of incorrect information about the EUMM’s mission. This represents a missed opportunity for the EU’s communications in Georgia.
On 17 May, Georgian government officials criticised EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and co-chair of the Geneva Discussions, Herbert Salber, after his recent visit to South Ossetia. Salber had congratulated newly elected president of South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov, on his electoral victory during the meeting in Tskhinvali (Tskhinval) on 16 May.
Georgia’s political elites are engaged in heated debates over a number of issues they claim are of existential importance to the country. These circuses, in which different interest groups fight for their own elitist agendas, has very little relation to the views and needs of ordinary Georgians.
Foreign allies and international organisation piled on support for Georgia’s sovereignty and said Abkhazia’s ‘so called parliamentary elections’ do not stand up to international scrutiny. These statements are a token of crucial diplomatic support to Georgia. But they also mask the absence of a policy fit to overcome the current impasse.