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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Georgian ads

Interesting ads in various papers today:






Not quite sure who these guys are - http://sosgeorgia.org/ - but it seems to be quite professional and full of interesting stuff.

Seems to be sponsored by a Georgian business called ITGroup.

Under the headline "It’s time the EU stopped ignoring Georgia" they write that:

"Georgia will probably not join the EU for a long time yet, if ever. Unfortunately, the prevailing climate in fortress Europe (especially the French and Germans who were pretty reluctant to allow East-Central Europe in let alone Georgia) is that the Union has expanded enough for the time being. Serbia may be allowed in alongside Bosnia and Croatia in order to pacify the Serbs and stop them electing aggressive nationalists, but for Georgia, things look grim. Georgia has so far failed to get itself recognised even as a potential member."

They have some interesting ideas about what the EU should do:

"The EU needs to seriously consider the long term possibility of Georgian membership and in the short/mid term think about how to strengthen the Georgian state against its expansionist northern neighbour. The most obvious way of doing this is to slowly phase out visas for Georgian citizens altogether. This would not be a costly measure for the EU as Georgia, unlike other potential members like Ukraine or Turkey, is so small that even if half its population moved west, the effect would be negligible. In addition unlike most of the new EU states, Georgia shares no land border with the rest of the EU, so Georgia would not become a hub of illegal immigration. The benefits however would be myriad. Quite aside from the obvious economic dividends for Georgia (more foreign investment, better transport links, Georgian wine in western stores etc.) the political effect will be to guarantee Georgian independence and even help solve its conflicts. At the moment a Georgian passport is pretty useless to the Abkhazians and Ossetians who hold Russian citizenship."

"This would be very different if Georgia benefited from a visa free regime with the EU. We could see queues of Abkhazians and Ossetians in front of the passport offices of Zugdidi and Gori."

"In short, even if “old” Europe does not want to extend full membership to Georgia, a “privileged partnership” of the sort Norway or Switzerland enjoys through the EEA or EFTA would be more than enough to secure Georgia’s future as a peaceful and prosperous member of the European family. However, we should not hold our breath, as the EU summit showed us that for now the old timidity towards Georgia seems to be more entrenched than we would like."




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