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Saturday, 22 October 2016


Georgians do not even dream of the EU?

2012-12-18 19:28

Georgians do not even dream of the EU?. 28845.jpeg

Recently, in a speech in Strasbourg, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said that the European integration was a priority for the country. "Nothing will stand on the way of European enthusiasm for my people, their desires and aspirations to unite with Europe. I came here as a carrier of a hope and faith: Europe is our future", said the Georgian president. Thus, he was hinting that the Georgians may be unhappy with the "political orientation" of the current parliamentary majority which is not showing such "enthusiasm". However, in reality, few people in Georgia share Saakashvili's emotions towards the European Union. Indeed, the majority of ordinary Georgians see in the EU not the bright future nut the fate of cheap and often disenfranchised workers.

Speech in Strasbourg shows that Saakashvili has finally moved to fictional world, not appropriate for the harsh reality. After all, the real attitude of the majority of Georgians towards Europe and the EU is far from being "enthusiastic". It is understandable. One thing is to travel to Europe bu the presidential aircraft surrounded by a large delegation of hangers, stay in the best hotels and meet with senior European functionaries at dinner parties. Quite another - to stand in a queue at the consulates of the EU countries, trying to get a visa, undergo the humiliation, and sometimes outright rudeness of the staff of embassies and migration services. And all of this to become a maid somewhere in Italy or Greece, to suffer the humiliation and sometimes abuse by employers, eat at random, suffering from the disease, with no opportunity to visit a doctor, but to save a couple of hundred euro and send them to relatives in Georgia sitting without work and money.

Thousands of Georgian families whose relatives or friends have left to work in European countries are calling Europe "damned". At the same time they do not have any illusions on the matter that the situation with Georgians in the EU will change if Georgia somehow miraculously becomes an EU member. In Western European countries the Georgian labor migrants often encounter the "brothers in misfortune" from the former Soviet Baltic states, Romania and Bulgaria, and one cannot say that their situation is much more "privileged" compared with the Georgians. Those and others are cheap and mostly disenfranchised workforce in Europe.

Therefore, the "European enthusiasm" of Georgian politicians and businessmen who do not know the torment and sorrow of migrant workers causes nothing but anger and hatred among most Georgians. "Most of all I hate those Georgians who stole money here and became citizens of the EU. Coming as tourists, they admire "reforms" of Saakashvili and teach us "democracy" and "the construction of a European society", said Levan, Kutaisi resident. "Don't they realize that half of the people are starving, families are collapsing - husbands are here, and their wives are working in Europe?"

Separation of families that occurs due to migration to Europe is terribly painful thing for the Georgian mentality. Georgians even in earlier centuries saw no shame in leaving for work: in the mountainous and land-hungry areas the men are often engaged in seasonal work, leaving their native villages, wives and children. But even 25-30 years ago and it was impossible to imagine a situation when husband sends his wife to work.

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