Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Language in draft EU-Georgia Association Agreement suggests enlargement fatigue

Andrew Rettman from EUobserver spots clear signs of enlargement fatigue in the recently agreed on draft text of the Association Agreement (AA) between the EU and Georgia in his article published on 8 July 2013.

Though Georgia has been for a long time striving for being regarded as a “European country”, the text of the draft Association Agreement states in its preamble “that Georgia, an eastern European country (our emphasis), is committed to implementing and promoting” EU values. The difference in terms is important here as according to article 49 TEU only “European State […] may apply to become a member of the Union”. Although the term “eastern European country” legally does not exclude future membership, it sends an important political signal concerning membership in the short to medium term. 

Mr Rettman received a confirmation from a German diplomat that the anti-enlargement feeling within the EU is the reason behind this formulation, although the diplomat stressed that Germany was not the country proposing this formulation.

This possible anti-enlargement reading of the provision is also shared by the Georgian Ambassador to the EU, Natalie Sabanadze, who also stressed the symbolic meaning of the term, as Georgia would have preferred to have its European identity completely reflected in the text.

The full article of Andrew Rettman is available here.

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