Reaching economic stability without democracy is impossible, says Saakashvili

Reaching economic stability without democracy is impossible, says Saakashvili
12 July 2008

Radical reforms within "Young Democratic States" are impossible without overcoming the cultural stereotypes, kept as a heritage of the Soviet times. This has been stated by Mikheil Saakashvili, the President of Georgia, in his speech on the Plenary Session "Building Democracy and Market Economy in the Black Sea Region" of the 5th annual Yalta European Strategy (YES) summit.

Mikheil Saakashvili mentioned that within the four recent years Georgia has achieved a serious advance in economic and social spheres. According to his words, industrial production rate growth today amounts to 12-13% per annum; the poverty level has been decreased from 50% down to 17%. The foreign investment volume in Georgian economy amounted to 2 billion US Dollars within the previous year; the country hopes to receive 3 billion US Dollars this year.

The secret of this success, according to Saakashvili's opinion, lies in the radical steps of the authorities. In particular, the President of Georgia mentioned reforming the police, reduction of government personnel, radical de-regulation (the government reduced the number of requested business licensing documents by 90%), termination of customs tariffs, allowing to increase the budget profits by 11% and taxation profits - by 55% already by 2004.

At the same time, the key factors promoting success of the reforms are cultural and mentality changes; specifically, Mikheil Saakashvili mentioned overcoming the nepotism in the system of higher education and implementation of strict approach to traffic regulations control.

These changes caused resistance from the part of opposition. "The certain forces in Georgia do not want reforms", mentioned Saakashvili. "They say the government declaims Christianity and traditional people's values. Although, by these values they understand corruption and nepotism, which is not compatible with democracy as we see it. These are the heritage of the Soviet times".

Mikheil Saakashvili is confident: without democracy, it is impossible to reach the economic stability in the country. At the same time he has admitted that Georgian authorities sometimes use quite rough methods in reforms' implementation. "The government might be tough and might sometimes have rough reaction to such things. We might possible lose support because of that. Still, the main thing for us is to see the positive consequences of the reforms for the country", he stressed.

As was informed, Yalta is hosting the the 5th annual summit of international Yalta European Strategy (YES) network, the greatest and the most influential non-governmental forum for Ukraine and European Union issues. More than 160 politicians, businessmen, public characters, diplomats and journalists from more than 20 countries of the world shall take part in the Summit. The Summit will continue working until July, 13. The Plenary Sessions will be traditionally held in Livadia Palace.
Among the participants of the 5th annual organization Summit are Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Mikheil Saakashvili, the President of Georgia; Marek Siwiec, Vice President of the European Parliament; Aleksander Kwasniewski, the President of Poland in 1995-2005; Mario David, Vice-President of European People's Party; Victor Chernomyrdin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ukraine; key strategists of the leading USA political parties - Karl Rove, the republican, and Bob Shrum, the democrat.
Anthony Charles Lynton "Tony" Blair, the British politician and public leader, the Prime Minister of the Great Britain in 1997-2007, will be the special guest of the Summit to speak at Vision of Europe and Ukraine Plenary Session on July, 12.
The Ukrainian state at the Summit will be presented by Arseniy Yatseniuk, the Head of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine; Raisa Bogatyrova, the Secretary of National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine; Vice Prime Minister on European and International Integration Grygoriy Nemyria.

Yalta European Strategy (YES) is an independent international organization, uniting the famous politicians, business and public opinion leaders, and journalists, with the aim of reforming Ukraine and provision of support to its entering the European Union. The organization was created by Victor Pinchuk, Ukrainian businessman and public figure, in July, 2004. 
Annual YES Summits in Yalta act as communication ground to discuss and develop political and economic strategies for Europe and Ukraine. Since the year 2004, William J. Clinton, the 42nd President of the USA; Gerhard Shroeder, the German Chancellor (1998-2005); Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005), Victor Yushchenko, the President of Ukraine, and other personalities took part in Summits' work.

Besides annual summits, YES acts as initiator and organizer of public opinion surveys, forums and discussions on actual Ukraine-European Union relations issues, provides public opinion polls in EU countries concerning the European integration perspectives of Ukraine.

Back to news list
Stephen Sackur
Stephen Sackur
Presenter, HARDtalk, BBC World New, 14th YES Annual Meeting, 2017
«Russians are going to be fighting with long-term economic misery. And they will have to decide whether they are prepared to put up with it for the nationalist enterprise of staying in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.»