Conception and Evaluation of the Interviews in:

Anna Steiner

Enhanced Relations - Protracted Conflict(s)?, page 86 - 86

The EU's Non-Recognition and Engagement Policy (NREP) towards Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia

1. Edition 2019, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4304-2, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7236-3,

Series: Wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus dem Tectum Verlag: Politikwissenschaften, vol. 82

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
86 Expert Interviews In order to match the results of the literature-based first part of the thesis with practical insights from experts in the field, expert interviews were carried out between January and March 2018. These qualitative interviews seek to prevent misinterpretations and to generate additional results. The views of the experts will firstly contribute to a broader understanding of the multilayered conflict context, secondly examine the development and possible shortcomings of the EU’s Non-Recognition and Engagement Policy and finally, by giving suggestions for the NREP’s development, facilitate the formulation of recommendations. Expert interviews are characterised by their resemblance to everyday conversation but are rules-based to avoid both drifting away from the topic as well as missing needed information (cf. Meuser/Nagel 1991: 448). Therefore, the expert interviews were carried out based on an interview guideline that can be found in the Annex. Conception and Evaluation of the Interviews The attempt of the selection of interviewees is to portray an as wide as possible range of opinions. This means the interviews are conducted with persons of different backgrounds that represent different groups in order to show where and to what extent their views diverge. The following groups are represented in the choice of experts: Abkhaz Civil Society (Expert A), International Non-Governmental Organization (Expert B), Conflict Research/Policy Consultancy (Expert C), External Observer (Expert D) and Georgian Government (Expert E). Expert A declares herself an Abkhaz citizen, Experts B, C and E are Georgian citizens and Expert D is an EU citizen. The establishment of contacts was made via e-mail. A few days before the individual oral interviews – via Skype (Experts A, B, C), telephone (Expert E) or in person (Expert D), the interview guidelines were sent to the respective experts, so they could prepare themselves for the topic. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. The interviews are evaluated by means of a qualitative content analysis based on Meuser/Nagel, which includes: Paraphrasing Thematic Ordering Thematic Comparison (cf. Meuser/Nagel 1991: 456-467)

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Protracted conflicts with and over de facto independent entities such as the Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region in Georgia endanger the region’s sustainable and peaceful development. Anna Steiner examines Georgia’s breakaway regions in the context of EU policies – a highly topical, yet unresolved matter.

Relations between Georgia and the EU have significantly deepened within the last ten years (Association Agreement, DCFTA, Visa Liberalisation). The present book closes a scientific gap by reviewing the NREP in the light of these developments. Using a profound literature basis and expert interviews, the authorsheds light on EU-Russian relations, the politico-normative framework of EU-Georgian relations, neighbourhood relations and applicable governance concepts. Realistic proposals for a future EU approach make this book a guideline for diplomatic engage­ment.