From a trade perspective, the most important aspects of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, signed on 27 June 2014, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), are the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and the food safety standards and technical regulations required for access to European markets. Georgia’s export to the EU is still rather limited, and one possible cause for this deficiency, amongst others, is the limited capacity to comply with food safety regulations and standards.
“At least we have a lot of water – why should I pay for it?” One can frequently hear this phrase in Georgia. This popular saying is based on the relative abundance of water resources the country has: roughly 15,597 cubic meters of renewable freshwater resources per capita a year, well above the 2,961 cubic meters per capita in the European Union (World Bank 2014). However, having a resource does not mean being able to use it, nor being able to do so in a sustainable manner.
The Georgian government is currently facing some tremendous challenges in adjusting to the EU Association Agreement (AA). A particularly problematic area of reform concerns the implementation of Directive 2000/60/EC, aka the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Properly managing water resources is an extremely difficult endeavor that requires a deep understanding of all the mechanisms at work.
When half a year ago, I predicted in my article “Georgia Exporting Crime” that the visa liberalization would be stalled at the last moment, I was called a grumbler and alarmist. Unfortunately, usually, the pessimists get it right.
On September 1, 2014, the Georgian society woke up to a very unpleasant reality – after years of extremely welcoming visa regime which put the country on the map as an attractive tourist and foreign direct investment destination, a new migration law regulating foreigners admission and stay in Georgia came into effect.