Georgia and the EU: Et Tu, Brute?
The US hitting the reboot button on Russia has long caused wry faces in Georgia, but now it seems to be Europe’s turn. On the opening day of the May 31-June 1 European Union-Russia summit, RFE/RL reported that Brussels is planning to ditch the post of Europe’s special envoys to the South Caucasus and Moldova and nine other locations.
The move does not jive well with Tbilisi’s hopes for closer ties with the EU and increased European involvement in Georgia’s conflicts and domestic politics. Tbilisi often looks to the EU’s point man for the Caucasus, Peter Semneby, to help mitigate problems with Russian-backed separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. With plans afoot to relegate Semneby’s functions to a lower-ranking functionary in Brussels, Georgians now may have to look elsewhere for intercession.
As RFE/RL writes, the move "signals another lurch toward big-power politics within the EU." And one in which the South Caucasus and Moldova -- with their complicated, long-running separatist conflicts -- look likely to pull significantly lesser weight.