European Resource Bank 2008

TBILISI – It isn’t hard to see why Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze is a free marketer. A graduate of American private education and a citizen of the United Kingdom, the ethnic Georgian prime minister invoked Margaret Thatcher’s legacy as an example for today’s legislators to follow in confronting economic challenge when speaking at the fifth annual European Resource Bank.

Gurgenidze put forward a compelling summary of his government’s reform agenda and its incredible achievements to date. He was slightly nuanced in his views on defense and security, but told us that Georgia’s future was essentially held in Washington’s, London’s “and other European capital’s” hands. Without putting words in prime minister’s mouth, one might deduce his distrust of the duplicitous German chancellery at this point and with good reason. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s multiple changes of policy over Georgia’s accession to NATO’s membership action plan is simply astonishing. It is incredible that Merkel choose St. Petersburg to announce Germany’s withdrawal of support from Georgia’s accession to MAP less than two months after standing alongside Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to announce her support for it.

The Georgian people are open, warm, sophisticated and welcoming people intent on joining the Euro-Atlantic as soon as the West allows it. They deserve our support.