What will happen next?
By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 30
June 27, 2014 has become a historic day for Georgia. The country, together with Ukraine and Moldova, signed a document of formal association with the European Union. On the Georgian side, the document was signed by the Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, and on the EU side by the President of the European Commission Manual Barosso and the President of the EU Herman Van Roumpey, as well as the leaders of the other EU member states. Initially the ceremony should have taken place in the fall of this year. However, with the events developing in Ukraine, the Russian occupation of Crimea and unrests in the East of the country accelerated the schedule.
Everybody who followed the ceremony commented that not only is this a significant day for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, but for the entire world as well. This is a precondition for arranging a stable European continent and these three countries will become worthwhile members of the European family.
EU leaders expressed their confidence that the new associated members will continue on their path of developing democracy. The signed document contains 1135 pages and it envisages gradual implementation of EU standards in the political, economic, social and legal spheres, which require implementation of reforms in all directions. As PM Gharibashvili stated, this is the way for the modernization of Georgia and to make it a full member of the European family. Georgia is ready for the necessary reforms to meet EU standards. There are 23 major spheres that Georgia has to improve by collaborating with the EU. Some of them are easy to comply with, but a number of issues will require amendments to Georgian legislation in order to harmonize it with the required standards.
Some goals can be achieved quickly, for instance the protection of consumerís rights is planned to start in a month from signing the document, changes in the transportation field will take some more time, while Georgia has four years to implement changes in the energy field and so on.
The Georgian people have certain questions with regards to the signing of the association agreement. These are: what benefits will Georgia receive and what steps will Russia take in this regard? As for the benefits, no one should have the illusion that the welfare of Georgiaís population will immediately be improved. Itís not entering a room full of wealth.
Georgians should learn how to work hard. The agreement itself will not bring any profit if it is not accurately followed by the state and its people. On one hand, Georgia will have the right to economically cooperate with the 500 million strong European market. On the other hand, Georgia does not yet have much to offer to this market, so the country has to try hard to comply with the quality demands of the European market.
The EU quality standard should be implemented throughout the country. Apart from benefits and privileges, this should increase the level of responsibility as well. As for the threat from the Russian side, the Georgian PM announced in Brussels there are no threats from Moscow. This statement received a different evaluation in Georgia. Representatives of the former ruling power, the United National Movement, stated that with this remark, the PM harmed Georgiaís interests by losing possible support from Western countries. History will show whether this is true or not.