Riga Summit Ceremonial
22 May, 2015
Riga Summit Ceremonial
The Riga summit’s agenda will focus on key issues such as: state building and rule of law; digital single market and e-commerce; energy security and interconnections; mobility of people and visa issues; conflict resolution and the crisis in Ukraine. In the long term, a less important but most popular issue is visa liberalisation, for
all 6 countries of the Eastern Partnership. The visa issue is affecting millions of people (voters) and political elites have no choice but to pay it a lot of attention, since sooner or later they will have to face elections.

The EU has to respond to growing Georgian sympathies towards the Eurasian Union, which were reflected in the latest polls, with 31 percent of respondents being in favor of it.

Other issues on the agenda are also important for Georgia. Today we face the reality of Georgia becoming the last link in a high-speed railway line that should shorten cargo transportation from Europe to China and vice versa to merely nine days, as opposed to 30-40 days if naval transport is used. In addition, Georgia is also the main transit point for an energy highway connecting Europe to Caspian resources, which could become even more significant if an agreement is reached with Iran as well.
Back to Riga, though: one of the summit’s intrigues will be the representation of Belarus, since President Lukashenko is currently under EU sanctions and Latvia as the host country did not request an exception for him to visit Riga.

Today Georgia is more important for the EU because it is the #2 target for Russia after Ukraine and holds a key location in Transcaucasia. Realpolitik-wise, having Georgia on your side means you will have all of the region sooner or later.

Another turbulent matter concerns Moldova: After 2014 elections, Moldova has failed to create a pro-Western majority and ended up forming a pro-European minority government. About 45 percent of Moldovans still support the country becoming Moscow’s satellite despgeotv.geite the visa-free regime that was introduced by the EU for Moldova in April of 2014. Roughly 360,000 (10 percent of the population) citizens traveled to EU without visas in the first eight months since the regime was implemented.
Today Georgia is more important for the EU because it is the #2 target for Russia after Ukraine and holds a key location in Transcaucasia. Realpolitik-wise, having Georgia on your side means you will have all of the region sooner or later. Also, the EU has to respond to growing Georgian sympathies towards the Eurasian Union, which were reflected in the latest polls, with 31 percent of respondents being in favor of it. The EU understands the diversity of all 6 countries and has already approved differentiation in approaches to them. It is clear that Georgia and Moldova are the leaders of Eastern Partnership. Ukraine will receive support from the EU in the form of a declaration or a statement.
The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will have a meeting over the Nagorno-Karabakh issue during the summit, which will most likely not bring any results.
As for implementation of Georgia’s “home­work” on visa liberalization given by the EU, the Georgian government has failed to fulfill some of the recommendations related to the legislative and procedural issues of asylum for immigrants, combating corruption, trafficking and anti-drug policy. Due to incompetent actions taken by Georgian ministry of Justice and MFA, who introduced a visa regime for Iran, Iraq and Egypt, Georgia lost about 100 million USD of income from tourists and investors from these countries. After signing of Association Agreement with the EU, sales of Georgian goods went down by 40 percent in Russia. This is mostly due to the instability of Russia itself, but the additional import tax implemented by the Russian Federation factored in as well.
Russia never officially objected to EU integration process prior to 2008. Since that time, Russian attitude has changed: according to Alexander Lukashevich, spokesman of the Russian MFA, the Eastern Partnership has anti-Russian undertones and Russia’s reaction to it will be harsh.
Kiev has delayed the beginning of reforms, upsetting Brussels and top leaders of the EU, who call on Ukraine to launch reforms immediately. Kiev was promised to receive billions in loans if the Ukrainian government cuts its expenses, begins the process of decentralization of the state power and starts combating corruption. The international advisory board, chaired by Georgia’s ex-President Saakashvili, did not deliver any tangible results so far.

Realistically, there will not be a single word said in the summit declaration about possible EU membership of any Eastern Partner countries.

Apparently, simply copying facade Georgian reforms will not work in Ukraine due to the following reasons: intellectual potential in Ukraine is much higher than in Georgia; industry-related technocrats have a far stronger position; oligarchs play a major role in Ukrainian politics and corruption is almost endemic and most political leaders are oligarchs themselves, Poroshenko included. All that considered, Poroshenko seems to be very optimistic and hopes to receive visa liberalization by January 1, 2016 and is confident that his country will receive EU candidate status in 5 years’ time.
Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova need a free visa regime in order to nudge breakaway territories towards stability. The visa-free year provided to Moldova shows that while not as effective as expected, it nevertheless remains a positive tool in a dialogue with separatists.
Realistically, there will not be a single word said in the summit declaration about possible EU membership of any Eastern Partner countries. As for visa liberalization, countries should not expect a visa free regime unless all homework is done and practically speaking, this can be reached by the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017.
The Summit of the Eastern Partnership Program is more of a ceremonial event rather than a decision-making gathering, used by the EU to demonstrate its interest towards the aforementioned six countries, inspire hopes among them and to prevent these countries from considering the Russian option.

By Irakli Gogava, Director of the Development Laboratory of Georgia
Print
Other Stories
Former US diplomat Matthew Bryza discusses Georgia, NATO membership and Trump’s presidency with GJ
How can we explain the statement made by the former Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rassmussen about the possibility for Georgia to join NATO?
NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Madeleine Moon visits Khurvaleti village
President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Madeleine Moon has arrived in the village of Didi Khurvaleti, in the Gori municipality, located near the Administrative Boundary Line.
“Georgia could soon be ready for regulations”
“With big money you can either build or destroy something”, says Vano Vashakmadze. The consultant for development in tourism helped to work out the new zone planning implemented by the government.
Mamuka Khazaradze establishes Lelo movement
The public movement of TBC Bank's founder Mamuka Khazaradze will be called Lelo.
TBC Bank founder Mamuka Khazaradze to establish social movement in Anaklia
The presentation of the social movement of the founder of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze will be held tomorrow, September 12, in Anaklia. The event begins at 12:00.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen offers Georgia a way to join NATO
Georgia should start an internal discussion of whether it would be acceptable to join NATO without Abkhazia and South Ossetia, - Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secreatry General of North-Atlantic Teaty Organisation, said.
“These protests are different”
«In Georgia protesting is almost a tradition», says the historian Simon Janashia who works at the American School in Tbilisi. But the current demonstrations are profoundly different.
Kelly Degnan nominated as the next U.S. ambassador to Georgia
President Donald Trump has submitted the nomination of Kelly Degnan to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to Georgia.
Development of the Anaklia deep sea port should be in the interest of every Georgian, says Kurt Volker
Importance of the Anaklia deep sea port is huge for Georgia and the Georgians have heard about it from many politicians inside or outside of the country.
Clashes and whistling in the Georgian Parliament after nomination of new PM
Clashes took place at the entrances to the Parliament building today, as protesters held the "Shame on You" event.
“Georgian Dream” Party introduced Georgy Gakharia as Prime Minister
“Georgian Dream” party has introduced Interior Minister Georgy Gakharia to the post of Prime Minister.
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has resigned
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has resigned. Bakhtadze released the relevant statement on the social network.
There will be no war with Georgia, says De-facto official
Georgia's provocative actions at the "borders of South Ossetia" are just an attempt by the Georgian authorities to divert their population's attention from acute domestic problems
After the summer Tbilisi is expecting another hot season
Every evening in June and July hundreds of protesters came to the parliament to demonstrate.
Why so called South Ossetian delegation gave ultimatum to the Georgian side?
Representatives of de-facto regime of the Tskhinvali region gave ultimatum to the Georgian side to abolish the Georgian police block post near Tsnelisi until 6:00am, August 30th.
Former Russian Duma member sees theoretical chance of solution the Abkhazia problem
Former member of the Russian Duma, Ilya Ponomarev, believes that there is a theoretical chance of resolving the problem of occupied Abkhazia
Georgian president calls Brexit new opportunity (Watch video)
Georgians feel that they are Europeans. It is not something they are striving for. They are European, President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili said in her interview with Euronews.
So called elections in Abkhazia go into second round
The “Presidential elections” in Abkhazia do not bring a clear leader. Nor are they recognized by a variety of states, among them the US, the UK, Ukraine and Latvia.
Representatives of diplomatic corps arrive in Gugutiantkari
Representatives of the diplomatic corps and the Government of Georgia are in the outskirts of the Gugutiantkari village of Gori municipality,
US State Department condemns Russian occupation of Georgia’s territories
The US state department has issued a statement condemning Russian occupation of Georgian territories – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region.
What went wrong in the 2008 August War? – Mikheil Saakashvili recalls
Today Georgia marks 11 years since the 2008 August War. After 11 years, there still are many unanswered questions.
After 11 years, Georgia commemorates the August War
It has been 11 years since the 2008 August War in Georgia. Officials and different politicians once again commemorated the date and made statements about the ongoing occupation of Georgia’s territories by Russia.
International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center publishes fresh survey
A new nationwide public opinion survey of Georgian citizens by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research
First comments made after Strasbourg Court’s decision over Rustavi 2
Rustavi 2 TV shareholder Kibar Khalvashi made first comment about the Strasbourg Court’s decision over Rustavi 2.
Bidzina Ivanishvili: "Who want closure of Russian market, are Georgia’s enemies"
Those, who tell-tale that we must replace the Russian market by the European and Ukrainian ones, are absolutely ignorant and uneducated,
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
15.09.2019
16.09.2019
USD
1
USD
2.9607
2.9607
EUR
1
EUR
3.2855
3.2855
GBP
1
GBP
3.6878
3.6878
RUB
100
RUB
4.6066
4.6066
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
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.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.9607
EUR
1
EUR
3.2855
GBP
1
GBP
3.6878
RUB
100
RUB
4.6066
September 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30