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Giorgi Vashadze: “In the Eastern Partnership Index where Georgia was ranked first everywhere three years ago, now Ukraine and Moldova are placed in the first and second positions. Armenia is ahead of Georgia in every third component of this index.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Vashadze’s statement is MOSTLY FALSE.

Resume:

The Eastern Partnership Index, named by Giorgi Vashadze, is divided into two sub-indices – the Index on Approximation with Europe and the Index on Linkage. The Index on Approximation with Europe was published in 2018-2019 (joint period) and the Linkage with Europe Index was published in 2020-2021. Therefore, it is natural that a comparison of the dynamics between countries in the last four years is impossible. Most likely, Mr Vashadze compared points of different indices incorrectly or he came to a wrong conclusion as a result of a technical error.

Since 2015 until today, Georgia has never ranked in the first position in the Approximation Index whilst Ukraine and Moldova have been the frontrunners. At the same time, Georgia was the leader in terms of the Linkage Index in 2015-2019. However, as mentioned previously, information was not updated for 2020-2021 and, therefore, it is impossible to conclude whether or not Georgia was demoted from the first position.

Another part of the statement that Armenia is ahead of Georgia in every third component of the index can be verified by Linkage Index only for the period 2020-2021. In this case, therefore, Giorgi Vashadze’s statement is true. However, a comparison is impossible in the case of the Approximation Index. Therefore, FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Vashadze’s statement is MOSTLY FALSE.

Analysis

MP of the Parliament of Georgia, Giorgi Vashadze, stated on air on TV Pirveli about the Eastern Partnership Index: “In the Eastern Partnership Index where Georgia was ranked first absolutely everywhere three years ago, now Ukraine and Moldova are placed in the first and second positions. Armenia is ahead of Georgia in every third component of this index.”

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is programme as part of EU Neighbourhood Policy which was launched in 2009 on the initiative of Sweden and Poland. This was an attempt to tailor a different format for the post-Soviet space, although today it is considered as the Eastern direction of the EU’s neighbourhood policy. The Eastern Partnership consists of six nations: Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus.

The Eastern Partnership Indices show the state of democracy and European integration across six Eastern Partnership countries. According to the methodology, the indices are based on several stages such as basic research design, data collection, qualitative and quantitative analysis and verification. Over 50 experts from all of the Eastern Partnership countries are involved in the survey. At the first stage, experts award points in line with a detailed set of indicators and afterwards, the results are analysed and synthesised into a wider regional perspective.

The Eastern Partnership Index is divided into two parts: Approximation and Linkages. In turn, the Approximation Index is divided into three sections: Democracy, Eurointegration and Sustainable Development whilst the Linkage Index consists of the International Security, Political Dialogue and Cooperation, Sectoral Cooperation and Trade Relations as well as Citizens in Europe components.

The Approximation and the Linkages Indices were both published in 2015-2016 (joint period_ and 2017 (separate year). However, only the Index on Approximation with Europe that was published in 2018-2019 (joint period) whilst only the Linkage with Europe Index was published in 2020-2021. Therefore, it is natural that a comparison of the dynamics between countries in the last four years is impossible. Most likely, Giorgi Vashadze compared points of different indices incorrectly or he came to a wrong conclusion as a result a technical error.

Table 1: Eastern Partnership Approximation and Linkage Indexes for 2015-2021

Source: https://eap-csf.eu/

Since 2015, Georgia has never been ranked in the first position in the Approximation Index which was not published for 2018-2019 whilst Ukraine and Moldova have been the frontrunners. As mentioned previously, it is impossible to make a comparison in this regard. In 2020-2021, Georgia’s ranking points increased slightly as compared to 2017 but decreased as compared to 2015-2016.

On the other hand, Georgia was top performer in the Linkage Index in 2017-2019. In 2018-2019, Georgia’s ranking points decreased by 0.01 as compared to 2017 but increased by 0.04 as compared to 2015-2016. However, the index has not been published since 2020-2021 and so it is impossible to provide an assessment of the current situation.

It is possible to verify another part of the statement – claiming that Armenia is ahead of Georgia in every third component of the index – based on the 2020-2021 Approximation with Europe Index. The aforementioned three components of this index consists of 18 sub-components of which Armenia is ahead of Georgia in eight components. In this regard, Giorgi Vashadze’s statement is true. Moreover, Armenia is ahead of Georgia in nearly every second component. However, it is impossible to compare countries based on the Linkage Index.