Georgia rushes to dissolved union01.12.2010 | 13:19
Desperate to join NATO and EU, Georgia keeps working hard in the domain of international diplomacy. Recently, chair of the republic's parliament David Bakradze made a proud statement that Georgia would soon become a partner state of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union (WEU). This bloc used to be an analogue of the North Atlantic Alliance. But will Georgia manage to benefit from these dubious relationships?
"In terms of geography Georgia can't be a WEU's Parliamentary Assembly member but it will have permanent representation in the status of a partner", - Bakradze remarked speaking at a bureau session of the country's supreme legislative body.
It is easy to guess why Georgia wants this partnership. Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has repeated more than once that the republic's entry into NATO and EU is among priorities of his policy.
Still, the ruling team is unable to achieve the goal in the near future. Firstly, the country's social and economic situation leaves much to be desired. Secondly, problems with the neighbors have not been solved yet. Besides, Tbilisi, it seems, still hopes to join the alliance with Abkhazia and South Ossetia - which is definitely unreal.
Naturally, Georgia does not have a NATO MAP and it is unlikely the action plan will be given in future. Yes, the bloc promises to provide support, joint programs are underway. But these are more like consolation prizes to Tbilisi, not the signs of active cooperation with Brussels.
That is why partnership in semi-mythic Western European Union is like a balm for sad heart, the best of what there is.
Why is the union semi-mythic? - one might ask. Let's begin with the fact that the union emerged in mid 1950s to counteract the "Soviet threat" and "revive German militarism". The group includes Belgium, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, France and the FRG, as well as some states of the Eastern bloc including Baltic republics. As time went by the WEU was merged by the European Union which is natural, after all.
The most curious thing is that in April 2010 WEU member states announced union dissolution. WEU presidium agreed that the union had fulfilled its historical function. That is why a collective decision to shut down the organization was taken. Belgian FM Steven Vanackere told that the continuation of the union makes no sense in terms of the budget. And Britain's under- secretary of state for foreign affairs Chris Bryant directly said: "The Western European Union does not comply with actual reality and today's architecture of European security".
One might wonder why WEU is still staying up and displays activity. In late October a representative delegation of the union's assembly arrived in Georgia. The guests held a number of meetings in Tbilisi and it seems the decision to start partnership with the former Soviet republic was taken then. Apparently, there are two options: either Georgia will become WEU's swansong or, on the contrary, it will pour in fresh blood to the dying organization.
Still, as our interlocutor Sergey Demidenko, expert at the Institute for Strategic Analysis and Evaluations thinks, Georgia will be a void contribution to the Western European Union. "I see no grounds for any integration, - the politologist thinks. - Presently all statements on Georgia's partnership with Europe look unsound since Tbilisi has absolutely nothing to offer to Brussels in political, economic or military sphere".
According to Demidenko, "partner" declarations by the republic's officials are more of a show-off in order to preserve the image of Georgia as a developing country allegedly integrated into the Western world. "The main point is that in the eyes of the world community they emphasize the West's intention to have Georgia integrated", - the expert adds. - All the more so that after 2008 Saakashvili's reputation in Europe has been ruined. Practically no Western politician doubts that Georgia unleashed the war by attacking first".
Certainly, when thinking of Sakartvelo's integration we must recall Eastern Partnership scheme proposed by Europe. As practice shows this phantom project is simply too expensive to the European Union. As for declarations about support and partnership, Tbilisi diplomats are used to hearing them. This is all they can get.