Government: Dialogue with Private Sector is Essential for EU Integration

Aiming to assist Georgian and Moldovan businesses and governments to achieve more coordinated dialogue on potential costs and benefits in the EU integration process, the PMC Research Center, with the support of International Visegrad Fund, hosted a two-day knowledge-sharing workshop on July 2-3.

The workshop presented the experiences of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary (Visegrad countries) accumulated in the process of creating effective platforms for dialogue between the public and private sectors.

Davit Bakradze, the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, highlighted in his welcoming speech that Georgia and Moldova are in a very important but at the same time very demanding process of implementation of the Association Agreement and DCFTA, as both countries transform their legislation and modernize their economies in the pursuit of EU approval.

“Good collaboration and partnership with the private sector is essential in this process and [from our side] we actively cooperate with them in planning and monitoring of the process of implementation. Right from the beginning when AA entered into force, we [the office] involved civil society, NGOs, business society, trade unions into planning process of our annual action plans,” he explained.

Boris Iarochevitch, the EU Deputy Ambassador to Georgia, noted that AA implementation will be a long and demanding process. “The government and parliament are working hard on passing and implementing a number of laws, it will take a long time as the DCFT is a road map of 7-8 years with hundreds of pieces of legislation to be passed and implemented. And as the EU, we always insist on wide consultation with all the stakeholders before the laws are passed, as well as insist on impact assessment being done by the government or the Parliament for each piece of legislation,” he stated.

The workshop included several panels on various topics where government agencies, business associations, experts, international organizations and donors talked about the prospects and challenges for Moldova and Georgia, export, intellectual property rights, agriculture and food safety and measures to support SMEs.

Mikheil Janelidze, the Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development talked about the export potential of Georgia and stated that the country needs to be export-oriented. “We see our future in the industries which are export oriented. We are a small market and it has no sense to be closed market. All the industries that currently are operating, as well as those which will develop in the future should be export oriented and competitive on world scale,” he explained.

“Slovakia’s experience proved that dialog between private and public sector is essential to get the most benefits of EU economic integration and to provide successful reforms and changes that increase economic growth and convergence,” stated Ivan Miklos, the ex-Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Slovakia. “From our experience we would highly recommend intensive formal and informal dialog and communication between government and public in general, including representatives of employers, employees and NGOs,” he continued.

George Welton, the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce stated that the DCFTA gives Georgia a huge growth opportunity (22% of its exports are exported to the EU), structural opportunities because of its location and the chance to westernize its business activities is preferable to the alternatives seen in the region.

Baia Dzagnidze

09 July 2015 21:54