The end of the Cold War and break-up of the Soviet Empire prompted Georgia and Latvia to start their uneasy quest towards becoming independent, democratic states. After the Rose Revolution in 2003, Georgia once again reassured Europe and the world community that democratization process was irreversible and the country remained faithful to its thrust to intensive structural reforms the new government envisaged. Even though Georgia has proclaimed that it shares the European values, the county's structures and institutions still face hurdles to adhere to those values. Introduction of key democratic principles into the public life and forming social consciousness still remains problematic. Sharing the common Soviet backgrounds, relations between Georgia and Latvia acquires a new dimension, as the latter joined the European Union in astoundingly small period after becoming independent. Considering common historical heritage and strategic partnership at present, Latvia can provide an important opportunity to help Georgia commit to further reforms and promote the transition to full democracy by strengthening human rights frameworks and introducing European values to younger generations of Georgian society.
Looking back in history, friendly relations between Georgia and Latvia were determined by common historical legacy and mutual understanding resulting from being subordinates to Soviet system. As states forcibly pushed into the Soviet Union and encountering numerous difficulties on their way, these two countries always kept striving for their freedom and independence. In addition, cultural relations between Latvian and Georgian nations, translating and exchanging literary works enhanced the already friendly relations between the two countries even further.
Nowadays, Latvia and Georgia are strategic partners strengthening their bilateral relations by common interests and vision both on a regional and global scale. Latvia expresses readiness to share its experience in the field of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. As harmonization of the national legislation to EU norms is one of the current priorities of Georgia, Latvia provides the country with an overview of how the above-mentioned structures function, as well as information concerning principles, hurdles and perspectives of the harmonization process of Latvian Legislation and legislative acts, operating in relevant fields, with EU norms.
To make future cooperation between Latvia and Georgia more effective, Latvia can act as a leader in supporting reforms in Georgia, promoting its commitment to European values through a monitored range of incentives. By doing so, Latvia can set a positive example encouraging other EU states and becoming a more effective player in its neighborhood.
The pace of implementation of European values in Georgia and the country's perspective to get support in the process from western democracies largely depends on how effectively European values are implemented in the country. Considering that, Latvia can be a leading example of how to realize the principles of pluralist democracy, good governance, international law and equal enjoyment of human rights. Georgia should take advantage of what Latvia has already achieved and explore new opportunities to expand its cooperation with EU as a whole. With regard to human rights, Georgia should identify the rights continually violated in Georgia (rights of ethnic and religious minorities, prisoners and conscripts, freedom of speech) and seek advice from Latvia on how to deal with such issues.
Even if the legal harmonization of Georgian legislation to Latvian norms is effectively achieved, education of young people and introducing European core values in Georgian society is still of utmost importance. Promoting cultural dialogue between Latvia and Georgia, organizing joint media workshops to find effective means of information exchange, as well as cooperation of educational institutions and carrying out student exchange programs can benefit Georgian, as well as Latvian youths and make Georgia's integration into EU faster and smoother.
Considering past and present friendly relations, common historical heritage and values of Georgia and Latvia, as well as their irreversible aspiration towards being part of European structures, the two countries can play significant role in advocating and strengthening European values. On the way of promoting change, joint programs focused on young people and new generations can facilitate positive results.