For many in the South-Caucasus country of Georgia, the signing of landmark pacts on June 27 with the European Union means that it finally has escaped from being relegated to Russia’s backyard.
Yet for all the relief that Tbilisi’s attempts to join “the European family of nations” are finally paying off, challenges remain. The sweeping political and economic agreements do not come with a promise of EU membership and could invite some sort of Russian retaliation.
Nonetheless, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on June 27 only saw the positive. “Generations of Georgians spent lifetimes hoping to see this day,” Gharibashvili said in Brussels as he signed an association agreement and free-trade agreement intended to get Georgia EU-membership ready in areas ranging from trade to law-enforcement.
Eventually, he predicted, “Georgia will become a full member of the European family, the European Union.”
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a Georgia-based journalist who is a frequent contributor to Eurasianet's Tamada Tales blog. Lomsadze attended a May 21-22 trip funded by the European Union's Media Neighborhood Project, meant to explain the workings of EU institutions and the EU's relations with Georgia and other members of its Eastern Partnership Programme.