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EU Special Representative might go

By Messenger Staff
Friday, June 4
Recently Radio Liberty reported that there is a possibility that the EU will abolish the posts of Special Representative in the South Caucasus and Moldova. EU Foreign Relations Department head Catherine Ashton is supposed to be behind this proposal. The Georgian authorities suggest that this is only an idea, which may or may not be acted on, and the EU's position towards Georgia will not change much. However some Georgian analysts suggest that this is scary news, as if this idea is adopted it will indirectly mean that the South Caucasus and therefore Georgia have been removed from the EU's policy priority list.

The post of Special Representative in the South Caucasus was created in 2003, the year the Rose Revolution took place in Georgia. After the 2008 Russian invasion Pierre Morel, the EU Special Representative in Asia, was also made Representative for Crisis Management in the region. Currently the EU has 11 Special Representatives, in the South Caucasus, Moldova, Sudan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Central Asia, Afghanistan, the Great Lakes Region of Africa, the African Union, and the Middle East. The EU will be making a new judgment as to what areas are important to it, and perhaps the decision will be taken from a geographical point of view, although in that case it is unclear why Georgia should lose its EU envoy rather than the Great Lakes Region or somewhere else further away.

The matter is under discussion and there is little Georgia can do about it. However this initiative came as a surprise to many EU member countries as well as to those who currently have Special Representatives. Georgian analysts say that if the EU structure approves this idea it will be a serious blow to eastern European countries, in particular those who are not yet EU members. Furthermore, they suspect that this would give one more signal to Moscow that the EU will put up with its aggressive behaviour towards its neighbours.

The Georgian leadership is responding quite calmly at present. Chair of the European Integration Committee of Parliament David Darchiashvili says that this is only an initiative, not a decision, and will only affect the post of Special Representative, not the delegations on the ground in either the South Caucasus or Moldova. Analyst Zurab Abashidze however says that the initiative is a nice surprise present for The Kremlin. Fellow analyst Gogi Khutsishvili thinks that if the decision is taken this will be alarming for Georgia.

Though there is not much Georgia can do it should still express its concern about this possible development. It is a member of something called the EU Eastern Partnership Programme after all, and the EU invited in to be.