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Biggest achievement of 2011: getting closer to NATO and EU

By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 30
Tbilisi officials have announced that the biggest achievements of 2011 in Georgia were getting closer to NATO and the EU. Some analysts however challenge the claim that the country is getting closer to NATO, while agree that certain forward steps were indeed made in terms of the EU.

The NATO issue is not only a topic of the foreign affairs of Georgia but an internal one also. On the eve of the forthcoming parliamentary and later presidential elections the ruling administration thinks to secure its victory in the elections by labelling all its political opponents Russian agents who are preventing Georgia’s accession to NATO. Major opposition force Bidzina Ivanishvili’s movement and its leader himself have stated that the process of progressing towards NATO was blocked by the Saakashvili regime when it got involved in a state of war with Russia and consequently lost territories back in 2008. To rehabilitate such a formula the ruling majority is using all possible means to promote its NATO orientation. From this viewpoint the visit of NATO General Secretary Rasmussen to Georgia was a matter of survival for the ruling administration. Representatives of the ruling power are highlighting the importance of the visit and reiterating promises that NATO’s doors are open to Georgia.

Analysts do not doubt that Rasmussen’s visit was important for Georgia however they doubt that there were any significant breakthroughs made in relation to Georgia and the North Atlantic alliance. Analysts suggest that year after year the same formula is delivered to Georgia in different wrapping. No new suggestions were offered by NATO Secretary General apart from general consent that Georgia would certainly join NATO, but not saying how or when. Though there were some indications of the democratic development of the country qualifying it as a NATO member.

Compared to with NATO, there definitely were serious steps made in regards to getting closer to joining the EU. Firstly negotiations are starting about deeper integration and a free trade regime between the EU and Georgia. It was also very important for Georgia that the European Parliament adopted a resolution where the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions were termed occupied by the Russian Federation.

Yet another significant event was Georgia’s endorsement of Russia’s entry into the WTO. Georgian leadership consider that a great victory as by signing this agreement Moscow practically though indirectly recognized Georgia’s territorial integrity.

It should be mentioned however that the European Union is deeply concerned with its own economic problems at the moment and is standing on the edge of collapse of its financial capacity. So under the circumstances there are not even the slightest signs of Georgia joining the organization, as for the trade agreements and a possible easy EU visa regime for Georgians, those are matters for negotiation.