The EU candidate countries and Georgia’s prospects for European integration

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Press
The article analyzes some comparisons between Georgia and the candidate and potential countries of the EU. Many papers of Georgian and foreign scientists economists have been devoted to the study of trade and economic relations between Georgia and the EU, but less attention has been paid to the research of Georgia and the candidate countries of the EU. The study uses the CAGE distance method, which has not been well studied in Georgian scientific literature. At present, the number of the EU candidate countries and potential candidate countries is seven. Georgia’s convergence with the European Union and its further integration depend in part on deepening cooperation between EU candidate countries and the EU. The enlargement of the European Union and the admission of new member states will also affect relations between other European countries and the EU. Thus, for example, Bulgaria’s and Romania’s admission has resulted in Georgia’s (and not only) European Neighborhood Policy, Croatia’s admission to the Eastern Partnership, which in turn has deepened trade, economic and other relations between Georgia and the EU, which will deepen further. Georgia has the prospect of being granted EU candidate status or potential candidate status. An example of this is the current EU candidate countries, which have achieved the result of sound foreign policy and economic reforms. Georgia should use the experience of EU candidate countries in the path of European integration in how they have been granted candidate status. Turkey is one of the countries which is diff erent from other candidate countries. However, 83% of the population, 73% of the area and more than 86% of the GDP of the EU candidate countries is with Turkey, which is a great prospect for any country. Georgia has the closest relationship with Turkey, but prospects for trade and economic cooperation with other EU candidate countries are also emerging. Turkey is Georgia’s No. 1 trading partner and the problems of the Turkish economy affect the Georgian economy as well. In our opinion, it is in Georgia’s best interest to bring Turkey closer to the European Union with its admission to the EU, thus having an EU member state on the land bordering Georgia. In all likelihood and contrast, the development of cooperation between Georgia and the EU candidate countries is promising, especially when the candidate countries join the EU. In fact, all of them are small (except for Turkey) and poorly resourced countries for which integration into the world economy is crucial. Thus, it is necessary to exploit the similarities between them, to consider the differences and to derive economic benefits. Thus, comparisons between Georgia and candidate countries and potential candidate countries of the EU allow us to draw a conclusion: Georgia can achieve EU candidate country status. Moreover, there is no significant difference between the economic indicators of Georgia and the EU candidate countries. Finally, if Georgia’s proper foreign and economic policy and its Association Agreement commitments are fulfilled, the country’s significant progress can be made and a whole new level of cooperation with the EU can be reached.
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Economic integration, EU candidate countries, Georgia, CAGE distance method
Economics and Business, №3, 2019, pp. 108-125