About visas and carrots or disappointment of Georgia in the European integration idea

Thu, 29/12/2016 - 15:32

After Donald Trump won the presidential election, and in the United States and in Western Europe are louder the voices of supporters of refusal of suitcases without handles in the form of useless East European border countries, including Georgia. These sentiments are reinforced with the strengthening of the global economic crisis, when the Western democracies have to think more about their own population than to support regimes hostile to Russia.

In Georgia are trying to save face with a completely deplorable economic situation in the country. Despite the optimistic statements of the Cabinet of Ministers about the soonest resolution of financial difficulties, the population increasingly feels the problems associated with the collapse of the economic policy. This indicates the reasonableness of disturbing attitudes in the Georgian leadership.

The Parliament has recently approved the state budget for 2017. Trying to patch holes in it, it had to close many social projects. It is planned to abolish some budgetary organizations. But it is the heightened attention to the social problems of the population that was one of the main pre-election trumps of the current Georgian leadership.

Thousands of ordinary people across the country come to protest against government plans to significantly increasing the rates of taxes on petroleum products, imported cars and cigarettes from January 1, 2017.

Dissatisfaction with the tax increase on cigarettes is easily converted to a joke by the statement about the fault of smokers themselves, who will have more incentive to quit smoking. However, drawing the eye towards the petroleum and petroleum products as a whole, we can see that the situation is far from comic.

The excise tax per ton of gasoline is expected to increase from 250 GEL to 500 GEL (approximately 200 USD.), diesel fuel - from 150 GEL to 400 GEL and for 1 thousand cubic meters of gas fuel for vehicles - from 80 GEL to 200 GEL. Customs clearance of imported cars with right-hand drive will raise three times and the excise tax on tobacco - 1.5 times. At the same time a lot of money for various international military exercises of Georgia and NATO are allocated regularly.

National Bank of Georgia from October 12 stopped intervening in the foreign exchange market. Since that day, GEL exchange rate against the US dollar has fallen by 13.8%. And since November 2014 it fell by 51% that is GEL devaluated by more than half. Moreover, unlike Russia, it happened without any sanctions, on the contrary, with the benevolent attitude and generous economic aid from the US and EU countries.

The population of Georgia has been sidelined from financial flows, is experiencing understandable frustration with the current situation. The extreme dissatisfaction and resentment causes awareness of the initial falsity of the most advertised goals of almost all the power-holding political forces that ruled Georgia from the first minute of collapse of the Soviet Union to the present day.

Among them a prominent place is occupied by the lack of real progress in the European integration promised in the mid 80's. But this is the backbone of advocacy structures, on which, was based a powerful ideological concept of Georgia's withdrawal from the Soviet Union, that has ruled the minds of all sectors of the Georgian society from politicians and academics to cooks and hairdressers.

"We will travel to Europe without visas. We will work there and receive European salaries, "- broadcast at rallies and on TV democrats and anti-Soviets.

For this purpose, Georgia destructed its Soviet industry, broken off economic ties with the Russian industrial enterprises, launched a bloody war against Ossetia and Abkhazia, provoked irreconcilable confrontation with Russia.

However, instead of being grateful Georgia saw with amazement the reluctance of Europe to open wide its arms. Georgians saw that the famous Hollywood smile without which Western officials do not even take a shower, is only a mask hiding the true attitude and true intentions of white European colonizers against the gullible natives.

However, the authors of the Western concepts did not take into account, in general, quite a high percentage of educated and able to think critically the Georgian population. As a result, for more than a quarter-century observation Georgians come to a conclusion disappointing for Europeans. The part of supporters of rapprochement with Russia is gradually increasing, though it is not so impressive - 15%. Former active critic of Russia Nino Burjanadze believes that the current authorities are doing too little, and that it is necessary to establish closer cooperation with Russia on a wide range of issues at the highest level. She says that "without this Georgia will never resolve its major problems."

But the majority of Georgians continues (or rather, through inertia than according to conviction) running after the carrot, which is hung on a string in front of them by European Union. However, some part of the Georgian population is tired of this quarter of a century cross. Therefore the EU has decided to give them the carrot ...to "sniff": Georgia is promised visa liberalization.

But for pity's sake! Why only the liberalization? For almost 30 years, they promised the complete abolition of visas, visa-free regime between Georgia and Europe!

What will it give the citizens of Georgia? Is it the right to work in Europe and receive the extremely high salaries, in comparison with the Georgian ones?

Not at all.

Please be quiet.

Gently and carefully roll up lips, comrades the euro integrators.

Visa liberalization does not imply the right to work in Europe, but only to spend money there earned at home. However, everybody has this "right", even the residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. That is, in fact, all that the citizens of Georgia will receive is a penny saving on payment of consular fee and time to visit the consulate. If you compare this tiny plus with a very wide and very long minus – the width from South Ossetia to Abkhazia, and the length of nearly 30 years - it becomes clear the whole enormity of the deception that befell Georgia.

Any unbiased observer can see that positive changes in the economic situation in Georgia are possible only in the context of non-hostility with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the restoration of relations with its traditional, for centuries-proven partners, and, first and foremost, with the Russian Federation.

In Georgia is growing number of people who see it.

And their voices sound louder.

Inal Pliev, international expert of IA "Res"

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