A group of fifteen civil society organizations, united under the Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia, issued a joint statement on February 5, expressing their alarm over the decline in the number of supporters of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and urging the government to establish institutional mechanisms for planning and coordinating the government’s strategic communication activities.
The statement comes less than a month after the National Democratic Institute’s opinion survey showed that the number of respondents who are in favor of joining the European Union had decreased from 62% in June 2017 to 60% in December 2017, while the number of those who support joining the Eurasian Union had increased from 23% in June 2017 to 29% in December 2017.
“We believe that the change is very alarming, and it points at the inefficiency and the counter-productivity of the Georgian government’s strategic communication on European integration,” the CSOs noted in their statement, adding that the government’s institutional mechanisms of coordination of strategic communication activities lacked “coherence” as well.
The organizations also noted that the government’s Communication Strategy on Georgia’s Membership to the EU and NATO for 2017-2020 was “a positive development,” but added that its action plan failed “to respond to hybrid challenges, particularly that of the information warfare.”
“We believe that it is essential to establish institutional mechanisms for planning, implementation and coordination of strategic communication, and a political will to make these mechanisms work,” the CSOs wrote in their statement, also emphasizing the importance of the involvement of all branches of government, civil society groups and expert communities. “The Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia is ready to cooperate with the government and international partners,” concludes the statement.