Pundit: EU has never offered Georgia to open a "second front"
Tengo Tevzadze for Caliber.Az
INTERVIEWS 04 July 2022 - 13:07
Georgian political analyst Tengo Tevzadze answers Caliber.Az's questions on the EU policy and relations between the Caucasus region states.
- In June, the European Union decided to grant the candidate status for membership to Moldova and Ukraine, but Georgia was told that it needs to address certain issues for this. What do you think such, one might say, a disadvantage of Georgia is related to?
- Actually, Georgia has always been the leader in this trio. Our country has tried to meet all the conditions on the way of accession to the EU, but when this opportunity arose, we, unfortunately, turned out to be politically unprepared. Because of the polarized environment and the country's internal problems, the EU's decision on candidate status was delayed. Yes, we have homework to do in the near future. Especially since about 85% of Georgia's population supports the EU, and no government was against it either. Our people want to join this organization, so the government is responsible for the tasks the EU has set for us.
There is no doubt that it was a political decision by the EU, and the Georgian people will hold the government politically responsible if the stated points are not fulfilled.
- It is clear that this is a political decision of the EU, but is it not one of its reasons that Georgia does not want to open a "second front" against Russia?
- It should be said that the EU has never suggested that we open a "second front". However, if this war is a problem for anybody today, it is, first of all, for the European Union. Talks about the so-called "second front" are propaganda of Georgia's ill-wishers in order to mislead society and confuse people. And the most important thing for us is for Georgia to become a modern, democratic state. And this is exactly what the European Union is asking us to do.
- Let's imagine for a moment that Saakashvili is in power, would the EU give Georgia candidate status in that case?
- Politics doesn't like to talk about what hasn't happened. Saakashvili has done a lot to integrate Georgia into the EU. Most of the institutional reforms are related to his presidency. I think he would have been more active with our European partners, but what hasn't happened is difficult to assess.
- Do you think Georgia's EU aspirations will moderate now?
- At the rally on June 20 the Georgian people once again expressed their desire to move towards the European Union. So, on the contrary, I think we will make every effort, we will be more demanding towards the Georgian government and the European Union. It is important for us to use this opportunity. It is not for nothing that it is written in the Georgian constitution that European integration is the choice of the Georgian people.
- To what extent may the relations of Georgia with the West change?
- We do not expect our relations to fail if the Georgian government quickly reacts to the EU conditions. Now we have to work with the deputies of the European Parliament and pass all the drafts of reforms that are spelled out in the 12 points proposed.
- How do you assess the results of the NATO summit in Madrid?
- This is another step forward. The summit showed that NATO respects Georgia's choice to become a member of the alliance. The membership of Sweden and Finland in NATO is also a positive signal for us. This military bloc understands the security challenges accurately and correctly.
- Why do you think there is a growth of pro-Russian sentiments in Georgia, first of all in the expert community?
- I cannot say that pro-Russian sentiments in society are growing, despite the propaganda that Russia uses against Georgia. As for the expert community, this is also part of the propaganda, and Russia tries to be represented in any part of Georgian society by a special bridgehead. But the message of the Georgian people is clear: we are moving towards Europe and no "expert" opinions will change this.
- Shouldn't Georgia also turn its attention to the east, towards Azerbaijan and Türkiye?
- Türkiye and Azerbaijan are our good partners. Our relations in social-economic, cultural, and political spheres are rather positive. Georgia's status as an EU candidate will further strengthen the partnership relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan. These countries are friendly to Georgia. Georgia's aspiration for Europe will not interfere with the friendship of our countries and peoples.
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