Georgia will strike up an “historic” alliance with the European Union by signing an association agreement on June 27, Tbilisi announced on May 14. And the agreement is not the country's final stop on the road to Europe, one key EU official, on hand in Tbilisi for the announcement, declared. Yet for all the high hopes, the announced schedule of Europeanization could be -- with apologies to the late Gabriel Garcia Márquez -- a chronicle of trouble foretold.
With an eye on the violence in Ukraine, Tbilisi is convinced Moscow will do its best to foil the agreement's signing; the deal already has fallen through in Armenia and nearly collapsed in Ukraine.
Repeating a standing request, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili asked the EU to see Georgia through the association process with its potential pitfalls. Brussels says it will, but asked Georgia to stay strong. “[Y]our country knows how to resist such pressure,” Rompuy said. “Your way of life as a free society is your greatest strength.” Yet while both Brussels and Tbilisi are looking into a crystal ball for hints about how the Kremlin may oppose Georgia’s European aspirations, there is a little homegrown etiquette snafu about which Georgian should do the honors of signing the association agreement.
Georgia's constitution does not specify whether its prime minister or president holds treaty-signing powers, although does state plainly that the president is the head of state, and "the higher representative of Georgia in foreign relations."
But, apparently, some confusion on this point persists. "Ongoing discussions" reportedly are being held about whether Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili or President Giorgi Margvelashvili should be, if you will, the modern-day Medea.