EU faces a difficult choice – where the pendulum will swing?

Published in Politics
Friday, 17 June 2022 22:25

European Commission is drawing closer to presenting its opinion on candidate status to Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova – members of the Association Trio. Meanwhile, questions and suggestions are mounting how to proceed in this way to find a “golden mean” amidst the war in Ukraine and highly unpredictable geostrategic context.

The stakes are high and considering all circumstances the European Union (EU) faces a difficult but historical decision. While, it is premature to talk in which direction the scales will swing, it’s evident that either negative or some intermediary decision about on any of the applicant state, will significantly affect their geopolitical future in the short and mid-term perspective.  What about Georgia – the sole strategic ally of the West in the South Caucasus, the situation with regard to the status, still remains unclear. While we watch Ukraine as arena of a brutal geopolitical competition between the West and Russia on the European theater, Georgia remains another arena of geopolitical rivalry between Russia and the West. The absence of war nowadays, doesn’t mean it will not be unleashed tomorrow, if Russia finds Georgia alienated by the West. Thus, it's safe to say that EU candidate status for Georgia is highly likely to strengthen the EU foothold in the region and have a far-reaching influence on the other states of the region.   

Before the pendant conclusion of the European Commission about candidate status for Georgia some opinions are present  both in Georgia and outside  calling the EU on either refraining from granting the status to Georgia, or suggesting something transitional. These suggestions are largely generated by ongoing domestic political infighting in the country. 

The benefits from granting candidate status to Georgia, which considerably outstrips other members of the Association Trio by the pace of fulfillment of the components of the EU Association Agreement appeared to be far more tangible, than conditional gains in case of refusal.

Let's put the questions specifically and directly. Whether it’s a prudent step to hold Georgia back from the candidate status, as some groups argue, and detach it somehow from the Association Trio in this truly extraordinary situation?  

What will the EU gain and what will it lose if decides to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, and say "NO" to Georgia, or give it something different? Hardly this “cold shower” from the EU would contribute to political stability in Georgia, which is apparently important for the EU in this turbulent geopolitical environment.  Georgia’s opposition groups and their supporters are highly likely to use this “NO” to embark on mass anti-governmental protests and Georgia is expected to plunge into another cycle of confrontation, turbulence, and uncertainty, with the ensuing consequences. It’s hard to imagine that the EU would be satisfied with such state of affairs in its key partner in the region.

Refusal to grant Georgia candidate status under any plausible pretext, can significantly increase not only Euro-skepticism but outright anti-Western sentiments in a sizeable part of Georgian society, providing anti-Western forces with an excellent opportunity to increase their influence and strengthen their stance. Nowadays, they are quite industrious in creating an anti-European atmosphere in society. Will the EU be satisfied with this perspective?

Pinning hope that the refusal to give a candidate’s status will force Georgia’s ruling party to become more malleable to the EU demands looks unconvinced. Quite the contrary, the care for its own political future, will make the current government far more dutybound to implement the EU-recommended reforms. The idea cultivated by some Georgian and foreign pundits and politicians that Georgia will better meet EU standards under the new government after the pre-term elections, looks rather emotional than well-calculated. If consider the balance of political powers in Georgia, as well as composition of the current political landscape, this scenario looks unrealistic.

And, last but not least,the status of the candidate for EU membership is not an act of mercy for Georgia. It will give the country a strong and unequivocal signal from the EU to take the road to justice, peace and security, or be faced, even more than before, with tension and confrontation that would not be in the interests of any party. It’s time for making extraordinary but geopolitically far-sighted decisions.

Zaal Anjaparidze, political analyst, Tbilisi, Georgia

Read 135 times

Related items

  • G7 Foreign Ministers demand Russia immediately return control of Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant to Ukraine

    On 10 August, G7 Foreign Ministers, including the EU High Representative Josep Borrell,  demanded that Russia immediately hand back full control of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and of all the nuclear facilities to its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine. This will ensure their safe and secure operation. 

    “Ukrainian staff operating the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant must be able to carry out their duties without threats or pressure. It is Russia’s continued control of the plant that endangers the region,” says the G7 statement.

    The ministers warned that the seizure of Ukrainian nuclear facilities and other actions by Russian armed forces significantly raise the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endangering the population of Ukraine, neighboring states and the international community. It also undermines the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) ability to monitor Ukraine’s peaceful nuclear activities for safeguarding purposes.

    “IAEA staff must be able to access all nuclear facilities in Ukraine safely and without impediment, and engage directly, and without interference, with the Ukrainian personnel responsible for the operation of these facilities,” says the statement.

    Find out more

    Press release

  • International Youth Day – Finding your place in society

    EU and UNDP help introduce youth work in schools and vocational colleges  

    TBILISI. 12 August 2022 – On the path to creating a high-performing educational system, Georgia introduces new educational models and tools to inspire young people to study hard and strive for professional success. These efforts aim to improve youth education and close the gaps between Georgia and the European countries in the areas related to youth participation and engagement.

    For now, around 34 percent of Georgian youth are not engaged in employment, education or training (NEET), compared to 13 percent on average in the EU. Youth unemployment in some of Georgia’s regions exceeds 40 percent (13.3 percent on average in the EU). Only five percent of Georgian secondary school graduates choose to enter vocational education programmes (48 percent in the EU).

    To help Georgia make education more responsive to the needs and aspirations of young people, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support the Ministry of Education and Science to introduce a concept of youth work in schools and vocational colleges. The initiative is implemented in partnership with ‘Sunny House’, a non-governmental youth organization.

    In 2022, a new cohort of 18 youth workers went through professional training to join nine schools and vocational colleges across Georgia. Youth workers took a lead in establishing youth clubs at the educational institutions and arranging non-formal learning programmes.   

    In July and August, over 100 young people – high-school or college students, engaged in enjoyable and interactive educational activities organised by youth workers with EU and UNDP support.

    In Kachreti, ‘Aisi’ community college grounds turned into a magical world of lost treasures where students had to show their physical and intellectual abilities and team-working skills to win the game.

    In Kobuleti, young people will enjoy a rare opportunity to discuss generational challenges with well-known Georgian writers. The discussion will be organised and hosted by the youth club at ‘Akhali Talga’ (‘New Wave’) college.

    “The European Union helps strengthen links between formal education and non-formal learning to ensure that young people have access to high-quality education and training and improve their transition from education to employment,” said Nino Kochishvili, Programme Officer at the European Union Delegation to Georgia.

    “Getting more young people into employment – jobs that pay well, with real career paths ahead – is a big social and economic opportunity for Georgia. The EU and UNDP join hands with our national partners to curate new and more effective youth education and training programmes. Greater youth employment creates a brighter future for young people and contributes to developing a larger and more dynamic economy for everyone’s benefit,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia.

    “We shape our work around the single most important goal – to help young people build skills they need to establish their place in society. Youth work blends formal and informal education to make the educational process richer and more effective,” said youth worker Tamuna Khalichashvili.

    Starting from the new academic year in September, nine youth clubs across Georgia will resume their work to continue supporting young people in their personal development and social integration.

    The EU and UNDP support draws on the EU-funded US$1,000,000 programme which contributes to creating new educational services in vocational education and training (VET), ensuring the sustainable and inclusive development of the VET system and the labour market. The programme is implemented in close partnership with Georgia’s Ministry of Education and Science, educational institutions and the private sector.

  • Georgian villages appear on Google Maps with EU and UNDP support

    Over 50 rural locations are pinpointed on Georgia’s AgroMap, created jointly by the EU, UNDP and Georgian Farmers’ Association.

    The map is a Google-based interactive information system and contains extensive data on agricultural enterprises, service providers, educational institutions, professional associations and other actors in the agricultural and food sector. In addition to private companies and non-governmental organisations, AgriMap also identifies government programmes and initiatives that support agricultural entrepreneurship.  

    Users can search for information by location or industry and contact specific companies to pose their business queries. They can also evaluate the quality of the information received and the effectiveness of the interaction.

    The AgroMap was launched in 2020 through a pilot initiative focused on the Dedoplistskaro Municipality. For now, the resource lists over 50 locations across Georgia and offers information on 500 companies and organisations, arranged by 24 activity sectors.

    Digitalisation has the potential to transform rural living by making farming jobs more attractive for younger generations and helping farmers work more precisely, efficiently and sustainably,” said Ketevan Khutsishvili, from the EU Delegation to Georgia.

    EU and UNDP support for rural development in Georgia is based on the EU-funded ENPARD programme with a total budget of €234.5 million.

    Find out more

    Press release

  • August 2008 Russia-Georgia war: EU reiterates its support to Georgia’s territorial integrity

    The EU reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s recognition of and continued military presence in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “It is a violation of both international law and of Russia’s commitments under the 12 August 2008 agreement,” says a press release issued by the EU Delegation to Georgia on the 14th anniversary of the August 2008 Russo-Georgian war.

    The human rights of conflict-affected communities in Georgia continue to be violated, including through so-called ’borderisation’ policies, closures of crossing points and illegal detentions. Restrictions on their freedom of movement must end,” says the press release. “We call again for accountability, including a credible investigation of all past violations of human rights to hold the perpetrators to account, to bring justice to the victims, and to ensure proper follow-up by the Russian Federation of the landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on 21 January 2021.”

    The EU says it remains fully committed to conflict resolution, including through its engagement as co-chair in the Geneva International Discussions, through the work of its Special Representative and the continued presence on the ground of its Monitoring Mission. The EU also reiterates its firm support to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.

    Find out more

    Press release

  • GLOBALink | China's foreign trade of goods up 10.4 pct in first 7 months

    China's foreign trade of goods jumped 10.4 percent year on year to 23.6 trillion yuan (about 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars) during the first seven months of the year, official data showed Sunday.

    Exports rose 14.7 percent year on year to 13.37 trillion yuan, while imports increased 5.3 percent from a year ago to 10.23 trillion yuan, according to the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

    During the period, China's trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union and the United States, expanded by 13.2 percent, 8.9 percent and 11.8 percent from a year ago, respectively.

    From January to July, China's trade with Belt and Road countries and other members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) soared by 19.8 percent and 7.5 percent year on year.

    In July, trade with RCEP partners reached 1.17 trillion yuan, up 18.8 percent year on year, boosting the overall foreign trade growth by 5.6 percentage points, said Li Kuiwen, spokesperson for the GAC.

    Produced by Xinhua Global Service

     

Business News

Silk Road Tbilisi Forum 2015 has started

Silk Road Tbilisi Forum 2015 has started

Silk Road Tbilisi 2015 forum started today. Following the success of the inaugural Routes Silk Road...

Agreement between SES and GEE

Agreement between SES and GEE

A new multi-year agreement was signed between worldwide satellite operator SES and Global Eagle Ente...

Visa free regime to impose for 15 February

Visa free regime to impose for 15 February

The visa regime imposed by Georgia to Iran has been cancelled for 15 February,” -the Deputy Ambassad...

Session of Economic Council was held under the leadership of Prime Minister

Session of Economic Council was held under the leadership of Prime Minister

Plan of acceleration of infrastructural projects, financial support scheme for startups and activiti...

MOST READ

« August 2022 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        

About

The News Agency,
NEWSDAY.GE is
a part of STARVISION
Media Group.
It made its first
appearance on the Internet..More

 

Contact

NEWSDAY Ltd.
Lechkhumi street.43

Georgia,Tbilisi

Phone: (+995 32) 257 91 11
E-mail: avtandil@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Social Media