Georgia-EU relations deadlocked: are dreams of European integration coming to end? (PHOTO)

Politics Materials 31 May 2024 12:59 (UTC +04:00)
Georgia-EU relations deadlocked: are dreams of European integration coming to end? (PHOTO)
Asif Mehman
Asif Mehman
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 31. In the novel “Shagreen Skin” by the great French writer Balzac, a boy finds a marvelous skin that makes all his dreams come true.

However, as the boy's dreams come true, the skin shrinks, which depletes his physical energy. Apropos of the Skin, there is a famous work by the great Georgian writer Shota Rustaveli, "The Knight in the Tiger's Skin", which is considered the pinnacle of Georgian literature.

We remembered Balzac because today's Georgia has turned from "The Knight in the Tiger's Skin" into that young man in “Shagreen Skin”. A few days ago, the president of the country of "knights" Salome Zurabishvili, dressed in "tiger skin" invited French President Emmanuel Macron to Georgia to improve processes in the country.

Georgia's journey to Europe began many years ago. The already deteriorating relations with Russia after the "Rose Revolution" of 2003, caused, no doubt, by pro-Western forces, led to the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia reaching its peak of confusion in 2008, finally breaking Georgia's "wings" on its way to Europe, thus depriving it of regions that are considered its sovereign territory under international law.

Indeed, it was at this time that Georgia should have realized that it had to fully comply with the demands of the West to follow the chosen path to the end. However, the process did not go as planned. Serious unrest started in the country, which was granted the status of an EU candidate, in protest against the law "On Transparency of External Influence" presented by the parliament, and this time deputies from different European countries joined the protesters in Georgia and supported their actions.

To understand the full picture, it is necessary to call everyone by name:

Pavel Fischer, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Czech Parliament; Bogdan Klich, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Polish Senate; Michael Roth, head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the German Parliament; Žygimantas Pavilionis, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Lithuanian Seimas; and Sebastian Tynkkynen, head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Finnish Parliament.

Head of the German Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael Roth, addresses the protesters.

The culmination of events is probably the moment already mentioned above - the president of the country called on the head of the French state, Emmanuel Macron, for help.

Here is an even more interesting moment: Emmanuel Macron was invited to Georgia to help Salome Zurabishvili, who enjoys the right to veto the law that passed the third reading in the Parliament, but the French Senate passed the bill on "Foreign Agents" on May 23.

Curiously, why can such a law be adopted in France but not in Georgia?

There is a nuance here that Georgia overlooks. Eurointegration would not end simply with a visa-free regime, convenient receipt of financial support from the IMF, and the fact that Georgia is a close friend of Europe in the South Caucasus region. Eurointegration presupposes the fulfillment of all requirements imposed on Georgia. Would those who opened their arms to Georgia have given it freedom otherwise?

For example, according to a report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Georgia is the leader in drug use in the South Caucasus. Drug use among adolescents in the country is twice as high as in Europe. Marijuana use was legalized in Georgia in 2018. Unfortunately, Georgia is also a country in the South Caucasus where LGBT propaganda is quietly taking place. But the country also has a large number of dissenting voices.

Integration implies acceptance of all European values. This is what the countries that are on this path today should take into account. Surprisingly, Georgia, which has traveled such a path and received the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union, has now reached an impasse and is at such a stage that it is forced to make a choice. The US Secretary of State (the country that passed this law for the first time in world history) Blinken just the other day threatened Georgia that if the law is passed, relations with Georgia will be reconsidered and visa restrictions have already started to take effect.

Apparently, the West intends to impose everything, even double standards, on Georgia. Of course, both the US and France can accept this law, but if we are talking about Georgia, an Eastern European country, everything must be accepted, including the double standards of the West.

Yes, Georgia has found “Shagreen skin”, but now all its strength and energy are about to run out. Georgia is facing a historical choice, and perhaps if it could have foreseen the situation and stepped on this path, the result would have been different nowadays.

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