Georgia’s European identity, often regarded as the basis of its pro-Western foreign policy, has been contested in the domestic arena by alternative agendas. While government changes are usually deemed instigators of change in this contestation, no systematic analysis has been conducted on the effect of external developments. Considering that Georgia’s relations with the West and Russia have been evolving and that the debates on European identity inherently relate to foreign policy, this article asks to what extent and how contestation within the European identity discourse changes in response to different external events. To elucidate these questions, the study unpacks European identity discourse in Georgia between 2012 and 2017 in the context of various ongoing foreign policy developments. These include developments in Georgia–European Union (EU) and Georgia–Russia relations, the war in Ukraine, and internal issues of the EU. Moreover, instead of common pro- and anti-European binary positions, identity discourse is analyzed as a combination of three identity categories via media in which each category constructs different degrees of difference with Europe. This article finds that advocates of each category interpret different foreign policy developments to reinforce, rather than challenge, their positions; thus, contestation and division in the discourse persist over time.

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