Striving for Perfection Despite Human Imperfection
15 November, 2012

Interview with H.E. Philip Dimitrov, Ambassador of Delegation of  the European Union to Georgia


There are some diplomats  who are important and interesting for Georgians and those who are interested in the fate of this country. One of the top 10 is Philip Dimitrov, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, who is the guest of this issue.

G.J: Wh

at has Georgia won in the eye of International Community by handing over the power so peacefully?

P.D: There was a high estimation of the efforts of Georgia to establish democratic institutions and standards, which is not an easy task. At the same time there were concerns that in the developing democracies a temptation to cling to power exists. Many people would not believe that the UNM will do what they say. Now it is clear that even though there may be some faults in the implementation of some democratic procedures, the profound conviction of the Georgian public and politicians is that they should be followed.

G.J: There are many talks on the part of International organizations about the possible political revanchism, and there are always some people who have to be held responsible for their activities. Where does the border-line lie between the mere revenge and fair punishment of criminal political figures?

P.D: This standard was first set by Jefferson in 1801when he made it clear that even though the previous administration had made amendments to laws and appointments that were disputable, he would not try to reverse everything and would not seek ways to persecute all misdoings that were not stark crimes. And he  explained why he was doing it. Revolutions are supposed to turn many things upside down. But living in a permanent revolution is not healthy. No law or Constitution is perfect. Besides, they are not made to make the life of politicians easier but rather to guarantee the stability of the state and thus, offer better chances to the people to find their own ways because of the predictability of the situation.

G.J: How much have we approached the European Union by handing over the power peacefully and fairly?

P.D: Substantially. As I have said for several times, you passed the first part of the test successfully and I hope that in the coming year you will pass the next part successfully too.

G.J: Recently, you gave assistance of  945 000 to Georgia. Will the assistance be augmented if we successfully pass the exams (as the October 1 Election), or was it more important that Georgian people acknowledged the legitimacy of elections?

P.D: People win in every election that is held reasonably fairly and its results are acknowledged. And of course, fifty something percent are a little happier than the rest. We believe this was not another revolution. It was a change of one democratically oriented government  (normally punished by the electorate for one mistake or another) by another democratically oriented government, which will also have to face a lot of challenges in fostering Georgian democracy. This is why our assistance will continue to be intense and increase because for every successful development we try to apply the principle “more for more”. We did it with the previous government and we will love to do it with the new one. In other words, it will be more and more. But it is a mistake to count only money. Coming closer to Europe contains a lot more than pure financial assistance.

G.J: What would you recommend as a diplomat who represents the European Union and who has quite a long experience of living in Georgia: what should the new government do first and foremost not to lose a high confidence of Georgian people?

P. D: Look, I am not that arrogant to give advice to any government elected by people. This is part of the democratic rule – you take the responsibility for your vision. People will judge it by the end of the day.

G.J: In your opinion, what will change in the Georgian politics?

P.D: I hope that a lot of things will be improved, but do you expect any major shift in Georgian politics.

G.J: How feasible is improving our relations with Russia?

P.D: This is for your Government to decide.

G.J: What about the threats of dual rule?

P.D: No such term exists in the political science. Cohabitation is a normal practice in democratic countries. Every government feels better if it does not have to take into account somebody else. But the rules of democratic governance have been established in history partly because such situations occurred rather often and had to be dealt sensibly and peacefully. Democracy is for the people, not for the governments to make their life easier.

Therefore, there is no threat. Only that after accepting the reality of the election results, Georgia has to accept the reality of Constitutional positioning and division of the power.

G.J: What should Georgia learn from your country in the area of political, economic and media experience?

P.D: The Georgian public should learn that democracy is about striving for perfection while accepting the natural imperfections of human affairs. We made a lot of “mistakes”, which Georgia is apt to repeat. However, I hope that the result will be as good as ours. Or why not even better?