A Regional Office of the European Public Law Organization (EPLO) was officially opened at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) on August 1.
The EPLO Regional Office was opened in Georgia based on a joint decision between the Government of Georgia, EPLO and TSU and it aims at creating an educational and research component promoting Georgia’s integration into the European community. The Regional Office will serve as a format for conducting research and training with the involvement of European experts, scientists and practitioners, where educational programs will be developed, including for public agencies, considering the needs and challenges related to the European integration process. Scientists, researchers and practitioners from the Eastern Partnership Initiative, as well as EU candidate countries will actively participate in the working process.
The EPLO Regional Office will promote holding of public discussions on European integration issues to counter anti-European propaganda and disinformation against European integration. Foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Georgia will actively join the process.
“The EPLO Regional Office will be established at Tbilisi State University and it will coordinate a lot of initiatives in public law throughout the Caucasus region,” Rector of TSU, George Sharvashidze said. He also stressed that it is very rare when an office is opened in a non-EU member state.
Along with TSU, two public agencies – the Ministry of Justice of Georgia and the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia – are co-founders of the EPLO Regional Office in Georgia.
Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Nunu Mitskevich said that opening of the EPLO Regional Office is an important step on the path of European integration. “The European integration processes are supported by both higher education and research institutions in a form of research activities. Within the framework of this program, the office will work on a new educational program for both MA and PhD degree programs. Further, research activities on European issues will become more intensive,” the Deputy Minister noted.
Spyros Flogaitis, President of the EPLO Board of Directors, Ioseb Nanobashvili, head of the EPLO Regional Office, Greek Ambassador to Georgia, Dimitrios Karabalis, Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Nunu Mitskevich, President of the Caucasus University, Kakha Shengelia attended the opening ceremony.
Spyros Flogaitis, President of the EPLO Board of Directors, expressed readiness to contribute to Georgia’s preparations on its European integration path. For this to happen, he continued, the country should be ready in terms of education, mentality, reforms, because when the moment comes, the country should be ready for it, he noted. “We all will be glad to have a new member state in the European Union,” Spyros Flogaitis said, adding that Georgia is one of the first countries in the region with whom successful cooperation is underway.
“The EPLO Regional Office has a potential to become a research and educational component promoting Georgia’s EU integration process. To achieve this, regular research of EU-related issues will be conducted and the research network of this international organization, as well as prominent experts from various European countries will get involved in the process. We are extremely grateful to Tbilisi State University that handed over the office and we highly appreciate the contribution made by the Ministries of Justice and Education to establishing this regional office,” Ioseb Nanobashvili, head of the EPLO Regional Office, said.
Georgia joined EPLO in 2010. An agreement on opening a regional office entered into force on August 13, 2020 to promote strengthening of European values as well as to introduce the principles of European public law and the best practices of public administration in Georgia.