"Eastern Partnership" of second-class30.09.2011 | 14:00
Yesterday in Warsaw, Summit of the European program "Eastern Partnership" was opened. Mikhail Saakashvili left for the Summit the day before. He hopes that in the Polish capital negotiations on establishing free trade between the Transcaucasian republic and the EU will start. Previously it was reported that the final declaration Georgia was officially recognized a European country. The Economist Giorgi Khukhashvili told GeorgiaTimes' correspondent why that was done and how real the hopes of the Georgian leaders are.
the Georgian leaders are.
The main hope, which the Georgian authorities connect with meeting of European leaders on the program "Eastern Partnership" opened today in Warsaw - is the start of negotiations on the establishment of free trade regime between Sakartvelo and the European Union.
"Georgia attaches great importance to deepening relations with the EU and the deepening economic and trade relations is particularly important. From this perspective, we hope that till the end of the year we'll achieve an agreement to launch negotiations on a free trade agreement that will enable the Georgian business more broadly open the doors to the European market" - stated the press-speaker of the Georgian president Manana Manjgaladze before his departure to the Polish capital.
Today, one of the participants of Tbilisi delegation, Deputy Foreign Minister Tornike Gordadze said the same thing. "We expect from the Summit a clear signal for the establishment a free trade zone between Georgia and the EU. We are waiting for the announce of specific dates when the negotiations on an agreement on deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union will start" - said the official. He expressed confidence that Georgia, which "is considered one of the most successful countries of the "Eastern Partnership", has got all the prerequisites.
Regardless of whether Mikhail Saakashvili's and his cronies' expectations will be realized or not, it is already known: the text of the final declaration of the summit will include a provision on the recognition of all the Transcaucasian republics the European states. This paragraph of the document met with serious opposition of the EU member states, particularly Italy. But under pressure from Warsaw, which is the Presidency of the EU, and with the support of Britain, it nevertheless was passed.
The Financial Times explained why London is interested in this recognition. On the one hand, the declaration gives a new hope to millions of citizens of the Transcaucasian republics who suffer from the inadequacy of their governments and poverty. On the other hand, it can stimulate the Transcaucasian regimes to deepen political and economic reforms based on European Union membership. This has already happened in Turkey, to which they promised to join the European community half a century ago. And although this promise is not fulfilled so far, in 60s of the last century, Ankara launched a major transformation in all spheres of public life.
GeorgiaTimes' correspondent asked an expert on economic issues Giorgi Khukhashvili what will change for Georgia when it will formally enter into Europe.
"This summit will take place under the sign of encouraging political declarations and nothing more, and the recognition of Georgia as a European country - is one of them. If I will be considered as a European state, not filling it with concrete content, then nothing will change. What the recognition changes and what preference it gives? Does it change the level of integration? This is a statement in favor of current political situation" - said the Georgian economist.
In his view, the Europeans needed such cheap political speculation to divert attention from the substantive emptiness of current summit of "Eastern Partnership" which nonetheless is connected with serious expectations of program participants. Europe simply does not want to bother with someone else - they have own problems.
"Today, all the issues related to further integration of either Georgia or other countries of "Eastern Partnership" to the European Union, are moving by inertia. The EU itself has a very serious and even dramatic problem. This summit is one of displays of this inertia. Unfortunately, I don't expect any concrete decisions from it. Of course, they will declare that the doors are open, but they have to wait. Therefore, no radical steps towards a free trade zone are also expected" - believes Giorgi Khukhashvili.