Three factors - historical, internal and external - need to be analyzed to clarify the necessity of European Integration of Georgia, which makes the strategic importance of the aspiration for our historical and civilizational choice.
The Historical Context of European Integration
On September 19, 1946, Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill first floated the idea of a united Europe at the University of Zurich. He talked about the regional formation of the European family. Winston Churchill emphasized the need to build the United States of Europe. Nevertheless, no specific decisions were made to realize that idea during that time.
In this regard, on May 9, 1950, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community. In 1951 France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed a treaty on the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). ECSC aimed to integrate Europe's coal and steel industries into a single common market. It was a starting point for European integration. In 1957, the European Economic Community (EEC) was created by the Treaty of Rome. Also, the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) was established by a separate treaty. In 1967, important changes were made by the Merger Treaty (Brussels Treaty). A single Commission and Council were created by parties to serve the three European Communities (EEC, Euratom, ECSC). The Maastricht Treaty, signed in 1992, established the EU and absorbed the European Community.
The 73-year period has shown that the idea of cooperation among European countries has proved successful. The European Union differs from other regional international organizations. Member states of the EU have attained quite a high level of economic and political integration.
The supranational elements of the EU ensure that the organization's legislative, executive, and judicial bodies are contributing to developing and implementing a common European policy. The European Union is an important example of the integration of European states into a union based on common values. Simultaneously, it is an illustration of solidarity, cooperation and creation of opportunities for developing national economic, political, and legal systems of member states.
The Domestic Political Context of European Integration (how Georgia's membership in the EU will affect the interests of the citizens of the country)
The future of Georgia is in Europe, and it has no alternative. An analysis of the history of European Integration clearly shows that the idea of a united Europe means peace, security, the creation of real development opportunities and, of course, diversity, and respect for and protection of the identities of European countries. Through economic and political integration, the European community has been able to set high European standards for safeguarding human rights and freedoms. The European system aims to support those legislative and institutional changes in its member states that promote protecting an individual's political, civic, social, economic, and cultural rights. The European states recognize their negative obligations (non-interference with fundamental individual rights) and positive obligations (creating a democratic, stable, and safe environment through reforms and supporting the realization of human rights and freedoms by using an equal approach) to their citizens.
At the same time, any person who holds the nationality of the EU's member state is automatically an EU citizen. According to the EU legislation, all EU citizens and their family members have the right to move and reside freely within the European Union. On a more practical level, this means access to European education, health care, the EU market, and all those basic areas that determine a better future for citizens.
Georgia's membership in the EU means granting EU citizenship status to our citizens, which indicates opening the window of European opportunities in many aspects. It also means having effective instruments for exercising citizens' rights and creating a whole set of guarantees. In particular, according to European standards, employers must protect the labor rights of employees and provide them with fair reimbursement. The rights of minorities must be protected and all vulnerable groups must have relevant and available instruments for safeguarding their rights. The interests of consumers must be taken into account. Adequate conditions must be provided for the sustainable development of the civil service, and appropriate programs must be available for the professional development of civil servants. The economy must be based on free-market principles. The regions should be equipped with modern, European infrastructure. A whole range of initiatives must be elaborated to continue developing the concept of European villages and producing local products based on European standards. Thus, the multi-dimensional nature of European Integration illustrates the importance of this process for the Georgian citizens and stimulates fundamental changes for their development, and well-being.
European Integration in the Context of Foreign and Security Policy
In terms of foreign and security policy, alliances of states that are based on common values have adequate mechanisms to deal with common threats and challenges. This further underscores the need for Georgia's integration into European structures, as this process allows us, with the support of our partners, to develop our security system in such a way as to effectively respond to contemporary challenges and, by making our role and function more explicit, to protect our national interests.
Also, today Georgia needs more effective diplomatic tools to realize its foreign policy goals in the international arena. In this regard, from an economic point of view, it is necessary to initiate and implement new, large-scale infrastructure projects, and from a political point of view, it is not enough to only participate in bilateral and multilateral formats, but it is also essential to represent one of those actors whose position will directly influence the decision-making process. The membership in EU will completely change our role and allow Georgia to be an integral part of European and, therefore, international politics. It will substantially and structurally change Georgia's diplomatic service. It is significant for a small state to develop appropriate diplomatic instruments and obtain new functions for more prosperity, security and stability of the country.
The analysis of historical, domestic and foreign political factors makes it obvious that the process of European integration is a national project for Georgia, as it represents an important mechanism to secure national interests. This is why European Integration is the choice, confirmed and enshrined by the Constitution of Georgia, which requires respect and protection from each of us. The constitution of Georgia is the supreme law of the country, which means that there is no other normative act that is higher than it.
Furthermore, the European path is the path our ancestors have chosen, and respect for our ancestors calls for continuing to firmly and consistently follow that path to get closer to our civilizational choice. Achieving this strategic goal is necessary to enable Georgia to take its rightful place on the European political map. It will have a positive impact on the everyday life of our citizens, since the right foreign policy steps are important factors in implementing domestic political initiatives in a global, dynamic world.