Georgia hits stumbling block on EU admission effort

July 8, 2013 at 5:59 PM

BRUSSELS, July 8 (UPI) -- Diplomats discussing admitting Georgia into the European Union have drafted language that appears to be a setback to Georgia's effort, officials said.

As Georgian officials seek to advance their diplomatic effort, the two sides agreed to language designating Georgia as an "eastern European country" -- a phrase EUobserver said was deceptively complicated. The European Union charter states only "European nations" are eligible for admission. The designation as "eastern European" is in an apparent effort to slow or stop the EU from admitting any new member-states.

There are several countries in the region seeking admission. Georgia is the first to receive the "eastern European" tag. Armenia, another country in the region, was only recognized for sharing "common history and common values."

While the diplomatic language negotiated between Georgia and the EU does not have any official impact on admissions negotiations, the practical impact is clear: The more differences in language between operating compacts and any official EU admissions treaties, the longer it will take and more difficult it will be to resolve the conflicts.

A Polish diplomat EUobserver didn't identify tried to put a positive spin on the "eastern" tag.

"It still says that Georgia is a 'European' state. It could have said 'Caucasian state' or 'euro-Asiatic country,'" said the diplomat with Georgia's closest ally in the European Union.

Diplomats have suggested Germany is behind the attempted stalling tactics, in part due to domestic politics. German elections will be held in September and further EU expansion is deeply unpopular among many conservative German voters.

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