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Ensuring Georgia’s Destiny

Article was published in Finnish Magazine "Agenda", January 2010,
by Amiran Kavadze, Ambassador of Georgia to Sweden and Finland

The Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008 and the international financial and economic crises have, in fact, reinvigorated our domestic agenda and country's foreign policy priorities. Still, it goes without saying, that Russia's occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the global crisis have re-confirmed our European identity. Now and for foreseeable future our top priorities are: building a legacy of strong democratic institutions and strengthening our economy.

The Georgian government has a very clear democracy agenda, which includes the judiciary reform, working out a new legal foundation for free and fair elections, ensuring media freedom, corruption free environment, respect for minority rights and dialog with opposition... Furthermore, the country's leadership has set up priorities for re-building our economy. The government is working hard on a skilful macro-economic management, economic incentives, attracting foreign direct investments, diversifying economy and making an effective use of foreign aid.

In October 2009 the president of Georgia introduced the Economic Liberty Act which aims at constitutionally safeguarding and consolidating the key economic policies, which Georgia has successfully pursued since the Rose revolution. We are confident that prosperous and democratic Georgia will be more attractive for breakaway regions than undemocratic and lacking progress huge dominion country with Soviet legacy.

Integration with Europe is not simply a "desirable outcome" or a clever idea: it is essential for both Georgians and Europeans - our destinies are common and inter-linked. We shall thus embrace Europe as it brings common benefits. We have already reached concrete results in our cooperation: the Visa Facilitation agreement has been concluded, the European Commission has already gained the mandate and elaborated the EU-Georgia Association draft agreement, which includes the deep and comprehensive free trade arrangements, the Georgian government works actively on fulfilment of the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.

The country is an essential part of the Eastern Partnership Initiative introduced by Sweden and Poland. What happens in places like Georgia it should matter Europe, its soft power is becoming more efficient and results oriented. We live in one common space and could hardly ever look back to the idea of "privileged areas or somebody's spheres of interest".

Six years ago the Georgian people made a strong choice of belonging to Europe, which means for us, Georgians independence, peace, freedom, democracy, standards and cooperation. Together with our friends throughout Europe we will ensure that this destiny gains victory over occupation, violence and all attempts to restore the Soviet Union. Regrettably, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall, a neighbouring country still forcibly divides territories, separates people and suppresses their basic freedoms.

Despite all challenges, embargoes and provocations, intervention and occupation of 20 % of my country we have been overcoming many difficulties and today with great patience are building up the state based on European values. This path is irreversible and we will never deviate from it.

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