Georgia 2014: The year in review
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, December 30
In 2014, Georgia’s foreign policy field was exceptional with regard to the country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. When it comes to success, we should emphasize the signing of the Georgia-EU Association Agreement, which represented another step on the path to EU and NATO membership.
Despite the fact that Georgia significantly promoted itself in Europe, the current government has some very complicated relation with certain EU institutions.
Many in Europe still believe that the reforms which upgraded Georgia’s development were the merit of the previous government. It was not accidental that former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili was invited at the Georgian-EU Association Agreement ratification ceremony in the EU Parliament .
Georgia’s western allies are also concerned by the legal processes ongoing in the country with regard to former officials.
Several statements have been made regarding the persecution of former officials allegedly on political grounds. This is firmly denied by the Georgian Dream government members, who stress that the former officials committed multiple crimes that they must answer for.
There are also some suspicions in Europe regarding Georgia’s foreign policy leaning. Suspicions were especially triggered after former Defence Minister Irakli Alasania was fired from his post and his subsequent move to the opposition.
Alasania is described as staunchly pro-Western and his departure was assessed as a weakening of the pro-western wing of the Georgian Dream. The coalition denied such assertions.
The current government is obviously undertaking a path towards Europe, which is proven by persistent move towards NATO and the EU, as well as the country’s participation in various peacekeeping missions.
Georgian policy only differs from other European countries in its attitude towards Ukraine. The Georgian Dream refused to join European sanctions against Russia and has not strongly condemned Russia’s illegal actions in the country. It appears that the topic should be understood in the context of regulating relations with Russia.
This rather distanced approach towards Ukraine might also be due to Ukraine’s overly positive attitude towards Georgia’s former officials, who are clearly disliked by the current Georgian administration.
When it comes to Georgian-Russian relations, some positive actions were provided in this regard, including the removal of the embargo on Georgian agricultural products and the return of Georgian wine and mineral waters to the Russian market.
However, even this success has faded due to the economic crisis in Russia and the devaluation of the ruble following the international sanctions imposed on the country.
The current government’s friendly attitude to Russia failed to benefit the country overall, especially as it relates to the main issue –the de-occupation of Georgian territories. Moreover, the problem has become more complicated after the Alliance and Partnership treaty was signed between Russia and Abkhazia in 2014. Russia intends to sign the same type of a treaty with Tskhinvali in January, 2015.
Georgia’s major political challenge in 2015 will be Russia, as the country appears to be strengthening its pressure on Georgia.