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What to expect at the Riga Summit?

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, May 7
Georgia has been maintaining high expectations from the Eastern Partnership Riga Summit. However, as the summit approaches it is hard to remain optimistic. It is not a secret that Georgia hopes to receive a visa free regime for its citizens; however, many politicians from the European Union as well as from Georgia itself are skeptical about the country’s chances of success at the Riga Summit which is scheduled to take place on May 21-22.

In the event that Georgian citizens are not granted the right of visa free travel to the EU, it is likely that the government will become a subject of harsh domestic criticism, while pro-Russian forces in Georgia will become more active in discrediting the idea of joining Euro-Atlantic organizations.

Many experts believe Georgia should not hope for much. Considering the recent developments in Ukraine, the lack of effectiveness in Georgian state policy, economic problems and the rise of crime, it will be hard for Georgia to succeed at the Riga Summit.

Head of the foreign Relation Committee of the Parliament, Tedo Japharidze says what the government promised to get from Riga summit will be granted to Georgia in May. According to Japaridze, Georgia should not expect have a breakthrough in relations with the EU.

“The summit will evaluate Georgia’s progress as it was initially planned. The summit will acknowledge that Georgia successfully went through the first and second phases of visa liberalization package,” Japaridze said, and also noted that any and all Riga Summit decisions will be free from Russian pressure.

The Free Democrats opposition party call on the government to intensify its work and become more active especially in relations with the EU capitals. MP Irakli Chikovani says based on the experts' forecast Georgia should not expect much from the summit.

“I honestly hope everything will be fine at the summit. We (Free democrats) will wait for the results and comment on the government’s work afterwards,” Chikovani said.

It is clear that even EU officials are not yet sure what to offer the Eastern Partner states at the Riga summit. Therefore, it is hard to speak about the summit outcome. While the Georgian government remains optimistic and hopes for the best, opposition parties are sure the summit will not be as successful as the Georgian side would hope for.