Georgia as a European Neighbour: Priveleges and Responsibilities
In November 2006 the European Commission’s (EC) Georgia Cooperation Council adopted a new document to guide EU-Georgia relations: A European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan (AP). Recognition as a European Neighbour offers a number of potential benefits to Georgia, including the opportunity to diversify foreign policy and to increase economic and political cooperation with a major world economic power. From 1992-2004 the EC provided nearly 420 million Euro in reform grants to Georgia and, within the framework of the ENP AP, it pledges continued financial and technical assistance. Most importantly, however, the AP should serve as a guiding framework and incentive for pushing ahead with reform processes already underway in Georgia.
While the NATO-Georgia International Partnership Action Plan (IPAP)—the other major international agreement structuring Georgia’s reforms—carries realistic prospects for future NATO integration, the ENP programme does not envision Georgian accession to the EU as an ultimate goal. In an October 2004 speech on the ENP, EC Delegation Chief Torben Holtze stated that “[the possibility of EU membership], open [to] any European country, has to be addressed in a different framework of relations.”1 With this in mind, the following report assesses the formulation and implementation of Georgia’s ENP AP not as a means to attaining EU Member State status or as an end in itself, but as a tool for achieving realistic and meaningful reforms in the short- and mid-term future.