The external dimension of the Common Agricultural Policy: shaping rural spaces in Georgia?
Given that the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has from the 1990s been increasingly oriented towards broader issues of rural development, it is peculiar that this shift has not been fully represented in research which continuously focuses almost exclusively on issues of subsidies or market barriers. At the same time, the literature on the EU’s external relations has almost entirely ignored the CAP, despite its internal importance and public criticisms of its global effects.
Hence, this thesis bridges these two lacunas by studying instruments related to broader understandings of rural spaces that have been (attempted to be) externalized by the EU to non-member states. To this end, it utilizes Lavenex and Schimmelfennig’s (2009) framework of external governance but draws conclusions relevant for the broader EU externalization discipline. More specifically, the thesis investigates two cases of CAP external governance within the Eastern Partnership country Georgia: the LEADER model of endogenous rural development and the EU approach towards geographical indications, meaning place-based protection for food and drink products. Interestingly, while governed differently, both instruments are presented as solutions to the challenges rural areas face.
LEADER and GIs in Georgia.
Generally, the two instruments can be, in line with the theoretical framework, analysed as effectively externally governed. Considering that both instruments are governed externally with different modes, differences in the selection/adoption/application of EU rules in Georgia could have been expected, which did not materialize.
The instruments fail to result in the expected economic measures of rural development. Yet, both interact with and reconstruct various aspects of rural space. Both instruments interact with notions of rurality as periphery. In the case of LEADER, rural spaces are Europeanized primarily through networks with EU-actors, while GIs connect them to international markets via a reconstruction of ‘rural backwardness’ into tradition. Additionally, both instruments at least narratively connect people to specific places, e.g. through a discourse of responsibility. Finally, while both instruments were expected by the EU to shape relations of authority in line with the concept of territory, findings suggest that existing elites rather than more marginalized groups are further empowered by the instruments. In the case of GIs, large companies which are able to meet standards and export are able to benefit from price premiums, while smaller producers do not interact with the instrument. In the case of LEADER, local elites, rather than as imagined women, youth and other marginalized groups, almost exclusively hold decision making powers. Further, in Georgia LEADER took primarily the form of a business support programme, rather than an inclusive rural development instrument as expected by the EU.
The societal relevance of this project derives from its foci on the Common Agricultural Policy, rural spaces and external governance.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is not only one of the oldest and budget-intensive EU policies, it is also one of the most criticised. So far, this criticism has often focused on the effects on non-member states’ economies due to protectionism and market interventions especially of earlier CAP regimes. Yet, instruments focused on rural development and thus rural spaces have been largely neglected in research. Nonetheless, lately both policy makers’ attention and resources have shifted towards this dimension, warranting a closer analysis.
As outlined above, rural areas are facing a variety of challenges ranging from underdevelopment to their indistinguishability as sites of industrial agriculture both resulting in rural depopulation. Hence, the consequences of policy instruments addressing these challenges should be analysed carefully if the vital functions of rural areas and their inhabitants are to be protected.
Finally, developing approaches towards EU external governance are vital for the evaluation of neighbourhood instruments. If academia and policy practice continue to understand the success of externalization as the mere application of EU rules in non-member states, they risk overlooking dysfunctionalities of the instruments in question. Consequently, if instruments do not benefit their adressees, in this case people in rural spaces, this in the best case implies a waste of resources while in the worst case it could fuel anti-European sentiments.
Oct 2016 – Aug 2017: University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Sep 2017 – Aug 2018: Université de Genève, Switzerland
Sep 2018 – Feb 2019: The Transatlantic Foundation, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Mar 2019 – Oct 2019: University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Master of Arts in International Security
Double Degree, University of Warwick and University of Konstanz
Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration majoring in International Administration and Conflict Management
Double Degree, University of Konstanz and University of Warwick
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration
University of Konstanz
- European Union external relations
- European Neighbourhood Policy
- Rural space
- Rural development
- Place-based products, especially wine
- Qualitative methods
Introduction to Social Analytics I at the University of Warwick, Department of Sociology, Term 1 Academic Year 2019/2010: introduction to quantiative research methods in the social sciences (concepts, measurement, survey methods, sampling methods, descriptive statistics, etc.).
Political Research in the 21st Century at the University of Warwick, Department of Politics and International Studies, Academic Year 2019/2020: introduction to research methods in political science (interviews, ethnographic research, research ethics, etc.).
Balfour, R., L. Basagni, A. Flotho-Liersch, P. Fusaro, L. Gelhaus, L. Groenendaal, D. Hegedüs, H. von Homeyer, K. Kausch, T. Kutschka, M. Matrakova, J. Rempala, and K. Tani. 2019. Divide and Obsturct: Populist Parties and EU Foreign Policy [online]. German Marshall Fund of the United States. Available from: http://www.gmfus.org/publications/divide-and-obstruct-populist-parties-and-eu-foreign-policy [Accessed 22 Jun 2019].
Balfour, R. and L. Gelhaus. 2019. How Influential Will Europe’s Populist Parties Really Be in the Next European Parliament? [online]. German Marshall Fund of the United States. Available from: http://www.gmfus.org/blog/2019/05/21/how-influential-will-europes-populist-parties-really-be-next-european-parliament [Accessed 22 Jun 2019].
Gelhaus, L. 2019. The 2019 European Parliament elections – lessons for the Eastern Partnership? [online]. Georgian Institute of Politics. Available from: http://gip.ge/the-2019-european-parliament-elections-lessons-for-the-eastern-partnership/ [Accessed 1 Jul 2019].
Richardson, B. & Gelhaus, L. (2015): Shame on You: Fat Discrimination and the Food Industry, in: Lacuna.
Schiffers, S., Hegedüs, D., Minesashvili, S., Bakakuri, T., Tchipashvili, L. Gelhaus, L., Le Grix, V., Seebass, F. (2018): Normative Power vs. Democratic Backsliding: European Values in the EU and Georgia. Policy paper published by Polis 180, Argo, Georgian Institute of Politics.
Networks and working groups
Co-founder of the Critical perspectives on European Neighbourhoods (CENs) working group and research network.
Member of the RESTEP Jean Monnet Network. Tought seminar on “The Politicization of Food”.