Georgia - Part of European Family
23 September, 2010
Georgia - Part of European Family

Last week a numerous delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was in Georgia. They were part of the Committee meeting for human rights and legal affairs which took place here in Tbilisi.

I was honored to have participated in one of the conclusive events in the beautiful town of Sighnaghi of Kakheti, where the delegation had a chance to try the indigenously produced gorgeous Georgian wines and taste the local cuisine. Incidentally, the wine-cellar where the degustation

of wine was organized was founded by Americans who own it and are living in Sighnaghi. How about the integration of Georgia with the West this way?! As I was told by some of the guests, the work of the Committee was a success and almost all of them wanted to be back here some day in the future. The entire ambiance that evening in Sighnaghi was so lovely that nobody wanted to leave the place – great food and wine as well as the famous Georgian folk singing, performed by the Chokha-clad local singers. Lord John E. Tomlinson of the delegation commented that the group deserved to be singing in the Eurovision contest, and the MP from Wales Paul Flynn could not help being amazed at their polyphonic singing, reminding him the Welsh folk vocalization. Dancing and those eloquently worded Georgian traditional toasts made it all sound and look very attractive too. One can say that the habitual Georgian hospitality was in full swing. Not only that though! There was a certain political fragrance in the air too while the guests were having fun at the colorful table. Some of the delegation members made their own toasts. For example, the head of the delegation Mr. Christos Pourgourides sounded quite optimistic in his brief speech about Georgia’s chances of its realistic integration into the European community. There was a general feeling that the gussets were sort of at home in Georgia, recognizing that Georgians are just the same sort of people as those who came from Europe to perform their good works here.

 


I was trying not to miss a single word, pronounced by our honorable visitors. The feeling that I was overwhelmed by in conversation with Jim Hood, the MP from UK and the member of the Council of Europe, was that slowly but surely, Georgia is becoming part of the European family of nations. The integration is not exactly a totally painless process, but the pain is quite surmountable, as it seems. The door leading Georgia into Europe is not completely ajar but it is also no longer as tightly closed as it was before. As a matter of fact, we are almost there. I am saying this all in whisper because I don’t want Russia to maliciously eavesdrop and then find every possible pretext to put a spoke in our European wheels. Nobody knows for sure, not even the Russians themselves, why Russia is so jealous of Georgia to be married to the West. What might be at stake for Russia should Georgia become, let’s say, a full and happy member of the European Union? My personal opinion is that Russia may even be a great winner provided Georgia is firmly integrated into the West because Georgians are a peaceful and creative nation, which is going to be Russia’s good friend and a productive helper if Russia wants to behave of course.


It was also very nice to behold that right in front of my eyes the outstanding Georgian political leaders like Petre Tsiskarishvili and Giorgi Gabashvili were unobtrusively but intelligently and benevolently forming Georgia’s friendship and good will with our European guests, masterfully using their knowledge, fluent English, and traditional Georgian hospitality to make those friendships feel and work as good as possible. 
Returning home and feeling pleasantly tired after that successful trip of the delegation of the Council of Europe to east Georgia, I was thinking that the events like this one might very well be part of the great process of promoting Georgia as an active player in European affairs. Europe may not yet be fully aware of how natural it is for us to be among them, but the feeling is being nursed and the time is approaching at a considerable pace when Georgia stops being a back-bencher in European forums and conferences. We should not be that far from the moment when Georgia’s political word plays  a role in the European ‘house’ which might have a positive effect on the development of events in Europe and the world too. Am I being too optimistic about Georgia’s future? Maybe! But hasn’t history recorded moments like this? Hence, nothing is impossible. So, let us never say ‘never’!

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