Does geography shape destiny? Georgia’s quest to define its location and history
11 January, 2017
Does geography shape destiny? Georgia’s quest to define its location and history
New Europe, the leading EU affairs newspaper  published an article by David Bakradze, Georgian Ambassador to the United States and former Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia. The article reads:
geotv.ge
Georgia-Tbilisi – Just before the end of 2016, final decisions were made to grant Georgia a visa-free regime with the EU. In addition to the tangible result of Georgia’s European integration, this decision positions Georgia to become a hub of energy, data, goods, capital, services, and talent, connecting several world regions. That is a big role for a small country and a young democracy, but Georgia is up to the task.

Georgia must now rise to the challenge of politically defining the significance of its location or risk that its location will determine the politics of the country. Georgia is determined never again to let that happen. This is why our relationship to Washington has been indispensable.

In the early 1990s, the South Caucasus was envisaged as a corridor for the energy resources of the Caspian basin and, perhaps, of Central Asia. In time, what came into being was a smaller but scalable project that bound together Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, untapped the riches of the Caspian and, in the future, could become a hedge for Europe’s energy supply. Ambitious ideas have a life of their own.

There are some who still dwell on the perceived failure of the Nabucco project. But, the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline project followed much of the same route, bringing Caspian resources to Europe — particularly to Southeastern Europe which is dependent on Russia for over 90% of its natural gas needs.

It is worth noting that vision to carve out a role for the region in the European landscape came from Washington. Washington listened to local aspirations and facilitated the gathering of regional, European, and global stakeholders to work together towards a future that would fortify the processes of democratization, liberalization, and development. Beyond building pipelines, Washington hoped to harness relationships. And that vision has materialized.

For some time now, the region and the energy-honed relationship has had a life of its own. The three countries have gone on to build a regional electricity market on the foundations of a grid funded by European institutional investors. The South Caucasus
is the last leg of a 12-day trip from China to Europe. As bullet speed trains are reanimating the ancient Silk Road the region is making its pitch to the world as an industrial hub, with cheap electricity, low regulation, competitive corporate taxation rates, an educated workforce, and necessary infrastructure.

In February 2016, the Government of Georgia selected a US-Georgia Consortium for the development of the Anaklia deep sea port. The €3,3bn project will be the only one of its kind on the eastern shores of the Black Sea that can be reached by Panamax-size ships. That creates a maritime direct Launch Pad from Central Europe to the Middle East and China. In the short run, the port will connect Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kirgizstan, and Tajikistan, to the west. In the medium run, Anaklia is the port of convenience for a minimum of 146 million people. In the long term, Anaklia is a global gate from emerging to developed economies.

Beyond joint ventures, the political landscape in Georgia still bears the marks of Washington’s formative involvement in its development and the two nations share a common world view. Now, as Georgia carves out its own space in the emerging economic environment. Georgia is building on its DCFTA agreement with the EU, EFTA, FTAs with CIS countries, including Russia and Turkey, to speed up the process of concluding a Free Trade Agreement with China. Market access is matched by a low taxation, low regulation, and high transparency regime, of the kind that makes Georgia one of the easiest places to do business in the world, according to the World Bank.

The vision driving all these efforts to promote economic, energy, and infrastructure interconnectedness is a safer and peaceful region.

This “can-do,” pro-business, problem-solving attitude that views regulation as the software that unleashes the creative spirits of entrepreneurship was born in the early days of Georgian independence and further advanced in recent years With an eye towards the future, Georgia is not building trade links to the world merely to sell its wine, mineral water, honey, or fruit that its 3.8 million person economy can produce. We envision a future where Georgia transcends its size and geography to attain greater significance in the global economy and forges ahead with politically defining the importance of its location.
Other Stories
41 avowed millionaires in Georgia’s parliament
Monitoring of Georgian officials’ public assets declarations will begin shortly,
Learn from Failure – The EU’s Quest for Media and Communications Competence
With PEOTUS running rampant on Twitter and the Kremlin using its honed skills at disinformation to sell their escapades in Ukraine and Syria as means to peace
Georgian FM Meets US Secretary of State in Washington
WASHINGTON - Georgia’s Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, met with the United States (US) Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson before completing his two-day official visit to the US.
Residents of Georgia's occupied territories to benefit from visa liberalization
We would like that visa liberalization and all other profits of European integration to be available for those living on occupied territories,
Georgian PM: “Congratulations! This is a truly historic day!”
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili has thanked the EU Parliament for the positive decision on Georgia’s visa liberalization.
Countries where Georgian citizens will enjoy visa free travel
The Georgian citizens with biometric passports will be able to enjoy 90-day visit in 180-day period in the Schengen zone countries.
EU Parliament backs Georgia’s visa liberalization
The EU Parliament has backed Georgia’s visa liberalization.
 Georgia conducted great and complex reforms, this visa-free travel is deserved – Mariya Gabriel
Your country has conducted very great and complex reforms, therefore this visa-free travel is deserved,
All-in or Fold: Gazprom’s Geopolitical Card Play with Georgia
There was much public outcry in Georgia as it emerged that the agreement signed by the government with the giant Russian oil & gas corporation, Gazprom,
Minister: Visa-free Travel with EU to be Launched in Late March or Early April
European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Minister, Viktor Dolidze, believes that Georgians will be able to enjoy visa-free travel with the European Union
The Inauguration: Reactions in Tbilisi
Facebook has, since Donald Trump became the President-Elect last November, been consistently entertaining with regards the man
Human Rights Watch Includes Georgia in Its 2017 World Report
Human Rights Watch (HRW), an American-founded international NGO that conducts research and advocacy on human right, has published its World Report 2017
President of Israel Visits Georgia
TBILISI - The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, is paying a two-day visit to Georgia.
Former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava leaves prison
Former Mayor Gigi Ugulava has left prison. The former Mayor was met by family members, friends and members of the National Movement outside the prison.
McCain and Co.’s Magical Mystery Tour of Russia’s Front Line
John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Amy Klobuchar traveled from the Baltic to the Black Sea confronting Putin—and Trump. But will it matter?
US Senator: Putin Illegally Annexed Part of Georgia
TBILISI – U.S. Senator John McCain had strong words during his visit to Tbilisi at the start of the new year.
George Derlugian: US Importance Overestimated in Caucasus
December 20-22 put many an academic and scientist in Tbilisi in a festive mood when Caucasian House,
Good news for Georgia: Political agreement on Georgia’s visa liberalization achieved
The EU Parliament and Council of Europe have reached political agreement on Georgia’s visa liberalization.
EU unblocks visa-free travel for Georgia and Ukraine
The European Union will soon let Ukrainians and Georgians visit the bloc without needing a visa after diplomats and lawmakers struck a deal
Why Ukraine Is Losing the War on Corruption
Mikheil Saakashvili, who was the president of Georgia from 2004 to 2013 and the governor of Odessa, Ukraine, from May 2015 to November 2016,
INTERVIEW: Tamara Beruchashvili, Ambassador of Georgia to the UK
Ambassador Beruchashvili visited Georgia last week to attend the third annual Wardrop Dialogues.
Germany Thanks Georgian Soldiers in Afghanistan for Repelling Terroristic Attack on German Consulate
TBILISI – German Defense Minister, Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen sent a letter to her Georgian counterpart,
Cost of Conflict: Core Dimensions of the Georgian-South Ossetian Context
“Cost of Conflict: Core Dimensions of the Georgian-South Ossetian Context” is an analytical publication which presents diverse views
Ian Kelly Says US Election Results Won’t Affect Geo-American Relations
The US Ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, says that the 2016 US Presidential election results will not affect the Georgian-American relationship.
Kakheti region among 15 perfect places for Americans to emigrate to – The Telegraph
There's been a spike in online searches by desperate Americans considering emigration following Donald Trump's shock election victory.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Other Stories
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
The Georgian President and his wife are on a state visit to Israel. Giorgi Magvelashvili and the First Lady, together
Koba Subeliani, a member of the National Movement party and the parliamentary minority
According to Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, the Georgian side will take part in the UN peacekeeping mission.
Asked about whether Georgia and Russia are moving towards a repeat of the war in 2008
The U.S. Department of State has released a video in which the new U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly addresses Georgians
Governor of Odessa district Mikheil Saakashvili was seen sitting in a police car’s trunk.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.5883
EUR
1
EUR
2.7402
GBP
1
GBP
3.2470
RUB
100
RUB
4.4717