Author: Mariam Khakhutaishvili


Against the backdrop of significant changes within the international system, the EU is grappling with a wide spectrum of challenges. In the current geopolitical environment, the EU has been putting a special emphasis on the alignment of its partner states’ foreign policy with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. Although difficulties often arise from different positions within the EU, the formulation of a coherent Common Foreign and Security Policy is a cornerstone of the Union’s collective identity. Hence, convergence with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy is one of the key factors determining a country’s EU integration.

The differing visions in foreign and security policy between Georgia and the European Union pose a significant challenge to Georgia’s integration into the Union. The Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union (CFSP), as a multilateral and dynamic framework, includes not only coordination and cooperation between member states, but also interaction with the foreign and security policies of said states. This interaction is crucial for understanding the dynamics of the current relationship between the EU and Georgia. The national foreign policy strategy of each member state plays an important role in the development of EU policy. These factors affect the positions of the member states on various foreign policy issues, including Georgia. For Georgia, understanding the complexities of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and its interaction with the policies of the member states becomes essential for navigating the path of European integration. However, achieving alignment in foreign and security policy between the two sides is a strenuous and complex process.

The latest analytical report on Georgia published by the European Commission indicates a troubling trend of decreasing alignment of its foreign policy with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. According to statistics, from 2019 to 2023, the alignment rate decreased from 55% to 31% (2017: 56% 2018: 54% 2019: 55% 2020: 61% 2021: 53% 2022: 34% 2023: 31%). The decrease in the convergence rate is particularly worrying considering that Georgia aims to join the European Union, and to do so, according to the European Commission’s recommendation, Georgia needs to increase the rate of convergence in foreign and security policy. In this regard, it is interesting to observe which areas reflect differences and why convergence is of such great importance not only for the European integration of Georgia but also for the expansion of the European Union.

The main reasons for the decline in the alignment rate

One of the primary contributors to the decreasing convergence of foreign and security policies between Georgia and the European Union is the Georgian government’s position towards Ukraine. The impact of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has reshaped global security paradigms. Georgia’s position towards Ukraine showed a deviation from that of the European Union, seeing the Georgian government’s ambiguous foreign policy raising doubts about its commitment to European integration. The European Union expressed disappointment with the Georgian government’s uncertain reaction to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has significantly accelerated the ongoing development of the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, which increasingly seeks to strengthen capabilities and respond to security challenges.

Following Russia’s large-scale war in Ukraine, Georgia aligned with the EU’s positions in international forums, including the UN General Assembly (UNGA), but refrained from joining deterrent measures (the sanctions) adopted by the EU after Russia’s military intervention. Georgia also failed to comply with the EU’s restrictive measures, including airspace closures. Given that the sanctions were the EU’s main tool for responding to Russia’s actions, Georgia’s non-adherence to these sanctions sent mixed signals about its compliance with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy decisions. Georgia also abstained from joining the EU sanctions imposed on Belarus, and rejected the statements of the EU’s High Representative regarding Iran, Turkey, and several African countries.

The decline in congruence between the foreign and security policies of Georgia and the EU occurred in 2021, 2022, and, in 2023, due to Georgia’s vague position, the congruence of statements dropped to 31%. Georgia’s foreign policy decisions should be paid due attention, as recent actions by the government may hinder the country’s progress towards EU membership. Former Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has asserted that Georgia’s European integration has not been jeopardized, and emphasizes its non-membership status “as of yet” and lack of obligation to align with the EU policies.

Evaluation of convergence indicators of the EU candidate countries


Member States are obliged to engage in political discussions within the framework of the EU’s foreign, security and defense policy. However, countries with candidate status and accession negotiations are required to align with the EU policies, which leads to reduced autonomy in foreign policy decisions.

This implies active participation in the political dialogue within the framework of the EU’s foreign, security and defense policy, compliance with the EU statements, and active involvement in initiatives.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Regarding the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Bosnia and Herzegovina significantly improved compliance with the EU statements and Council decisions. Compliance with the EU sanctions remains a political contradiction, however, as one member of the Presidential Council supported a neutral position on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which led to significant delays in their implementation, including the banning of flights from Russia and the suspension of Russian state-sponsored media broadcast.

As of August 2023, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s alignment with the Common Foreign and Security Policy is 98%, seeing the country better complying with the EU positions and statements.



Moldova’s compliance with the Common Foreign and Security Policy increased to 78% in 2023. Moldova expelled 22 Russian diplomats and 23 embassy assistants, which reduced the embassy staff by two-thirds. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Integration with Europe in Moldova is well structured to participate in the CFSP.

Regarding deterrence measures, following the Russia-Ukraine war, Moldova did not join the EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus. However, there is a recommendation not to circumvent EU sanctions in the country.



Ukraine’s institutional framework supports its active participation in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs oversees CFSP-related matters and has even created the position of “Political Director”. Compliance with the Common Foreign and Security Policy was 93% in 2022, and 89% in 2023.



Serbia has consistently refrained from taking any restrictive measures against Russia, and does not support most of the High Representative’s statements regarding Russia and Ukraine.

With regards the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Serbia’s compliance rate increased to 51% in 2023, though it disagreed with several statements of the High Representative and the European Union’s restrictive measures against Russia, China, Belarus, and Iran.

Continued flights to Russia raise questions about Serbia’s compliance with EU policies. Notably, Serbia signed a free trade agreement with China in October 2023, which raised concerns. Serbia maintains strong ties with Russia and China, and yet it strongly supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity and provides humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

The varying degrees of convergence and divergence among these countries underscore the complex nature of their foreign and security policies, shaped by geopolitical processes. While some countries express a clear desire to integrate into the EU, others are struggling with difficulties potentially affecting their progress on the EU accession path.

A new strategic partner – the People’s Republic of China

Georgia’s deepening relations with China have raised additional questions about the clarity of its foreign policy priorities and alignment with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. This situation affects the country’s relations with its traditional Western partners, as well as its aspiration to become a member of the European Union.

In one clause of the Agreement on the Strategic Partnership between China and Georgia, we read: Georgia has faith that “China offers a new path and a new choice for humanity to achieve modernization” and “the parties emphasize that central and local government agencies, as well as political groups and parties, need to expand connections to share experience and strengthen relations in different directions”. China’s modernization course is at odds with democratic electoral processes and human rights protection. Hence, both from a practical and an ideological perspective, Georgia will not benefit from China in the field of governance. Georgia is a post-totalitarian society that has been trying to integrate into Euro-Atlantic structures for around three decades. Therefore, for Georgia and China, it is crucial to differentiate between cooperation in the economic sphere and cooperation in the political dimension.


Convergence with the Common Foreign and Security Policy is an important factor, one that can determine the successful integration of candidate countries, among them Georgia, in the European Union. Issuance of this recommendation by the European Commission emphasizes that common values are not only a theoretical obligation, but a practical necessity, indicating the need to achieve convergence. For the European Union, unity of values is paramount, and directly links the enlargement process to common principles through Article 49. The basis of the EU’s foreign policy is openness, something which requires unanimity in foreign and security matters. Therefore, Georgia’s compliance with the EU’s statements and resolutions is essential to strengthening the coherence of this collective approach.

Alignment with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy serves as a key indicator of Georgia’s alignment with the broader vision of the EU, which is critical to advancing its candidacy and achieving the ultimate goal of EU membership. Aligning with the EU’s foreign and security policy creates the basis for stronger political, economic, and cultural ties between Georgia and the EU; it promotes mutual trust and understanding, paving the way for deeper cooperation and partnership in various areas of joint interest. Georgia’s recent foreign policy actions, especially its strategic partnership with China, have raised questions about clarity, consistency, and transparency. As the country aims to gain EU membership, such actions affect its relationship with the EU and its reputation in the international arena.

The European Union and its member states are closely monitoring the alignment of candidate and partner countries, including Georgia, on key foreign and security policy issues. As such, Georgia must ensure that its foreign policy decisions are transparent, and are consistent with the country’s constitutional goals, so as not to harm its long-term interests and relations with the European Union.