Georgian support for accession to the European Union (EU) is at a four-year high, according to a nationwide poll released today by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI*) Center for Insights in Survey Research.
“Despite continued suspicion of the Russian government, the survey reveals a strong desire for engagement with the country, and indicates persistent concerns over unemployment and the state of the Georgian economy,” it states:
A combined 90 percent of Georgians “fully support” (64 percent) or “somewhat support” (26 percent) joining the EU. Similarly, a majority of Georgians “fully support” (56 percent) or “somewhat support” (26 percent) joining NATO.
The survey reflects significant distrust of Russian motives alongside a desire to maintain relations. Seventy-three percent of respondents view Russia as a political threat, and 57 percent see it as an economic threat. A vast majority (76 percent) view the current state of Georgia’s relationship with Russia as “bad,” yet a combined 82 percent “fully support” (53 percent) or “somewhat support” (29 percent) continued dialogue—a figure consistent with previous IRI polls.
Georgia’s freedom and democracy rating has remained at the same level over the past 12 months, says the new Freedom House report – “Nations in Transit 2017- The False Promise of Populism.”
Georgia was assessed in the report according to the following parameters: election process (4.50 out of 7), civil society (3.75), independent media (4.00), national democratic governance (5.50), local democratic governance (5.25), judicial system and its independence (4.75), and corruption (4.50).
*IRI is a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.