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What promises of Georgia's integration into the European Union?
Material posted: Publication date: 14-02-2014

The year 2013 was memorable for Georgia by two significant political events. In the end, presidential elections held in October last year, in Georgia complete establishment of the new political system. "Georgian dream" became the ruling party, with its candidate Georgi Margvelashvili claiming the presidential seat. United national movement of Mikhail Saakashvili went into opposition and his former leader left the country and went to USA to avoid criminal liability.

Another significant event is due to the fact that on 29 November 2013 in Vilnius, the Georgian government signed with the EU an Association agreement and free trade. The contract, consisting of 1000 pages, was signed by the Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Georgia David Zalkaliani. Calling it a historic event, he stated that for his country the process of European integration has become irreversible.

Currently Georgia has become a formal participant in the process of European integration. It should be noted that it is not about membership but about the political and economic Association. But this achievement was given for Georgia. In the past decade, the country had unquestioningly followed the recommendations of the European Union and especially the United States. This required dramatically change the orientation of the Georgian economy. The Russian market was sacrificed to the politics. In the country created the necessary conditions for foreign investors, due to the European businesses have privatized the most profitable assets.

Despite unquestionable position of the Georgian leadership about bringing the legislation into line with European standards, the conduct required by the EU political and economic reforms, in Brussels there are many questions addressed to the Georgian side. Although Georgia compared to other post-Soviet countries have already made significant progress in combating corruption, improving the business environment and other reforms, claims to her European partners are mainly associated with the elimination of the Antimonopoly service and the reforms of the new labour code, etc.

Consistent with the European Union the document is still many requirements. To achieve a final agreement Georgia have until the end of the year to meet these requirements. The document reflected requirements such as harmonization of legislation, would bring justice to the condition corresponding to the European standards, an agreement on readmission, improving the quality of products subject to the further output to the European market, adaptation of the management system and education to the European standards, etc.

Complicated procedural steps in the process of Georgia's integration into the EU, many of the conditions and requirements of end which is not visible, opens the way for many skeptical arguments and raises many questions.

First, the question arises: "will Georgia end up a full EU member?".

According to the leader of the public movement "Ukrainian choice" Viktor Medvedchuk, the tenth example of the integration of Georgia to Europe shows how baseless the sacrifices made by this country for the sake of EU requirements. Because instead of the old conditions were made new, as Georgia has not yet become a member of the European Union (see: the example of Georgia shows the futility of European integration – V. Medvedchuk / "", August 28, 2013).

If Georgia was located close to Russia's borders and on transportation routes of energy resources, it is unlikely their dimensions and remoteness from the major areas of Europe it would be in the range of serious interests of the EU. But, on the other hand, it is quite possible that this geographic location that hampers Georgia's accession to this structure. South Caucasus borders not only with Russia but also with Iran, and it is unlikely that the EU in the nearest future will be ready to bring its borders to Iran and Central Asia. We can assume that it is for this reason requirements to be met by the countries-participants of the program "Eastern partnership" to become an EU member, much heavier than those that were once extended to the Baltic countries.

The second issue of the skeptical reasoning associated with the political and economic perspectives of Georgia in the European Union.

The head of the administration of the international "Eurasian movement" Leonid Savin believes that the project "Eastern partnership" is not that other, as attempt to expand the sphere of influence of the EU at the expense of some of the former republics of the USSR, and later – the transformation of this zone in controlled territory through the implementation of the European law and economic mechanisms. From the point of view of logic of capitalism, "Eastern partnership" is not that other, as the development of new markets, resources and cheap labour. If we consider the military aspect, bringing Georgia to NATO means again to shift to the Western weapons systems that produce members of the Alliance (see: Leonid Savin. Ivanishvili immediately after the victory said about the desire of Georgia to NATO, and this is a very sensitive issue and a matter of principle for Russia / "", 29 October 2012).

On the other hand, does not give grounds for optimism and the current is still non-cordial socio-economic situation of post-Soviet Baltic republics. For example, the average pension for the elderly in Lithuania are just below 150-200 euros, while consumer price are those of Germany. Up to 400 thousand people receive food from the red cross and other organizations. Foreign capital in these countries (especially in the banking sector) prevails. 80% of the banking capital in Latvia belongs to the Nordic banks, with the consequence that even the appointment on the post of head of the Department of the Ministry of Finance needs to be agreed with Association of Commercial Banks of Latvia. Top authority here belongs to foreign banks. Along with the economic situation, and unsatisfactory social situation in the Baltic countries. For example, in many parts of Estonia, there is acute deficiency of doctors. Most doctors in this country come to work in Finland, where the salaries of doctors in 7-10 times higher (see: Conference "the Baltic experience of Euro-Atlantic integration: will history repeat itself in Georgia?" / "", November 21, 2012).

Despite the examples of the Baltic republics, Greece, Cyprus, Balkan countries, among the political elite of Georgia euroscepticism is not felt. The consequences of the geopolitical choice of the country almost never discussed in political and expert circles. Here, the idea of integration into the European Union has become a kind of ideological reference point. Georgia has been steadily marching towards the EU, but against the intense flux of geopolitical processes in the region to predict what will happen in the end of this road, it's hard.


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