"EU acted unjustly and cynically with Georgia"
    Caliber.Az interview with Revaz Kilasonia

    INTERVIEWS  30 June 2022 - 10:20

    Tamilla Mammadova

    Caliber.Az presents an interview with the Georgian expert in international relations and political scientist Revaz Kilasonia.

    - The European Union has given candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine but they have told Georgia that they are ready to grant candidate status to Georgia once priorities have been addressed. Why do you think the EU acted that way?

    - I think that the decision of the EU towards Georgia is extremely unjust and extremely cynical. For many years Georgia has been the most important strategic partner of the West in the region. At least that's what our Western partners claimed until they showed us the door one recent morning.

    And our partnership with them was particularly prominent in the military-political and social spheres. The participation of the Georgian military in peacekeeping missions under the auspices of NATO should be noted. Also, a number of agreements were signed with the EU and commitments were made to carry out reforms in different spheres. And they were very successfully carried out.

    Even according to Western organizations, Georgia was ahead of the two countries, which had received the EU candidate status, in all respects. For example, according to the project of the World Bank, the index of so-called Doing Business, in 2020 Georgia was in the 7th place, Moldova was in the 54th and Ukraine was in the 68th position. That is, by purely technical indicators, if we take into account the EU requirements, Georgia was far ahead. But the decision, to all appearances, was made on the basis of political motives, which, as it turned out, Georgia did not meet.

    - Or maybe Brussels thus punished Georgia for not opening a second front in support of Ukraine?

    - As I have already said, the decision was purely political. The assumption that its main reason was "not opening a second front" is not irrational. For example, high-ranking officials, the government of Ukraine, directly and indirectly, called on Georgia to open a second front. Everyone has seen and heard this. However, the fact that Tbilisi did not join the economic sanctions against Russia in the interests of the state may also be the reason for its denial of EU candidate status. Meanwhile, Türkiye (a NATO member), Azerbaijan, Armenia, and even some EU countries have not joined these sanctions. And then the question is: what will the West get from a second front? There is an opinion that the West just wanted to show the whole world that "evil Russia is at war not only with one neighbour but with other neighbours too." And I share this view too.

    - If Saakashvili had been in power, would the EU have given Georgia candidate status?

    - The question is debatable, maybe it would be because he has always been considered an excellent executor of the directives of the West. But if so, at what price?! In fact, it appears that Georgia would have received this status if it had opened a second front, although this would have been a tragedy for Georgia. And as for the statue itself, it is only political, and purely symbolic, and does not involve any advantages. For example, Türkiye has had such a status since 1999. So, I do not think that it would be reasonable to sacrifice the interests of the country and its population for the sake of such a symbolic status.

    - Do you think that Georgia's aspirations to become an EU member will moderate now?

    - I hold to the viewpoint that there is and has never been any real reason for Georgia to ever join the EU. This is very clearly proved by the statement of the French President Emmanuel Macron made recently: "Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia are in a different geographical and geopolitical place." That is, he had admitted that the geopolitical realities are paramount for the West and that "pro-Western aspirations of these countries to Euro-Atlantic structures" is just a pretext for the West to strengthen its geopolitical interests in the region.

    - How will this influence Georgia's relations with the West?

    - I think that despite the current political differences between the West and Georgia, from a purely strategic point of view, it is not beneficial for Europe to completely abandon our country now, because it, in fact, remains its only strategic partner in the region. So it is unlikely that relations will change dramatically.

    - What are your expectations of the NATO summit in Madrid?

    - As for the NATO summit, I do not have any special expectations. Most likely, the summit will be political in nature, like the West is still united, and even non-NATO countries, like Georgia, have been invited to the event. Nobody is expecting that specific issues will be discussed, such as the transfer of the Membership Action Plan (MAP) to those countries that are partners but are not yet in NATO.

    - Why do you think there has been an increase in pro-Russian sentiment in the Georgian expert community lately?

    - Frankly, I have not noticed it, but if this is the case, it means there are reasons for it. And we have already talked about them.

    - Do you think Georgia should move westwards or should it look eastwards, towards Azerbaijan and Türkiye?

    - In my opinion, Georgia should not move from one side to the other. A country's foreign policy cannot move only in one direction. There should always be an alternative to balance the interests of those forces trying to impose their interests. This is the only way to strengthen a country's sovereignty and independence. However, it would be good if Georgia's foreign policy became more flexible, responsive and situational, without any ideological assumptions.


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