Georgia and EU integration: challenges (საქართველოს ევროკავშირში ინტეგრაციის გამოწვევები)

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Press
Euro-Atlantic integration is the strategic goal set by the Constitution of Georgia (Article 78). Based on the Government program of Georgia for 2021-2024, the country will start the related procedures in 2024 by applying for the EU membership. However, Georgia has not yet developed the strategy, the so called “white book” with the action plan and Gantt chart as well as conducive and unfavorable factors. Knowing these factors is very important. The reasons preventing Georgia from becoming a competitive, effective market economy system meeting the EU criteria have been identified and described. However, we would like to point out the following two key reasons: (1) a 30-year state of war of Georgia with Russia (occupied territories and internally displaced people) along with interminable process of “desovetization” and (2) transformation-related problems due to which a 30-year economic and social crisis could not have been solved. In the year previous to COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia’s GDP amounted to 82.5% of that of 1988. However, all problems stem from the Soviet historic heritage. The strategic goal is to join the European Union that means achieving a certain level of social and economic development and not just striving and moving towards the EU. Movement is not everything in this case. Development of a competitive economic system that would provide the population of Georgia with the European level and quality of life in an expeditious manner is the main goal despite the fact whether Georgia joins the EU or not. The first milestone on the way to the EU is the end of “desovetization” and transformation from a “wild” to a “democratic” capitalism. The author offers the explanation of how the Soviet and market systems manage to coexist taking into consideration that transitional economy is the state of economy where the Soviet and market economic systems coexist in a single time and space dimension since they have contradictory traits and mechanisms of functioning. Soviet economic system was artificially developed as an antipode of a capitalistic one and its substitute, and that’s why it depended on subjective governing factors. Their diffusion, intertwinement of their elements is not possible. What is the deal for them to make the economy function at some level? How could it happen that the system developed artificially still exists? Presence of elements of the Soviet economy is based on the bureaucratic system imposing the monopoly on national resources nationalized during the Soviet period and on their disposal, still existing as result of slow process of desovetization being in the interests of the actors of “wild capitalism”. As a result, bureaucrats and new capitalists got united having a common interest of hampering the process of transformation. Conservation of the elements of Soviet governing system caused the erosion of bureaucracy, “resovetization” in the form of a single-party-governance, and diminished competitiveness in political life. The cause of the failure is unreasonable and inflated procrastination of the process of desovetization and absence of reforms and the unified strategy for the development of the country. The author believes that the way out is speeding up the process of desovetization, reinstatement of an indicative/strategic planning system and improvement of the governing system by the development of qualitative human resources and political elite. The precondition for the development of political elite is the creation of legal and institutional basis for state political appointees through the introduction of scientific qualifications
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effective market economy, 30-year crisis, 30-year-state of war, desovetization, indicative planning, scientific qualification for political appointees
International Scientific Conference Dedicated to the Establishment of the University and the 100th Anniversary of the Faculty of Economics and Business “Covid 19 Pandemic and Economics”, Tbilisi, 2022, pp. 477-482