Soso Pkhakadze: The candidate status is the beginning of a new era for Georgia

According to Soso Pkhakadze, the president of the Georgian Business Association, granting Georgia the status of a candidate country by the European Commission is the beginning of a new era.

According to him, this is not just another success of the country.

"I am glad that as a Georgian, I witnessed this period - we came very close to the goal that our previous generations in Georgia had for centuries. What is the price of the candidate country status? - I will speak from the prism of business and economy, which is our field.

In BAG, we analyzed all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which received the candidate status and then, within a few years, became member states of the European Union. Let's take Bulgaria - it is a very good country, but in terms of wealth it is the poorest in the EU. Bulgaria became a member of the EU 6 years after receiving the candidate status. During this time, direct foreign investments in Bulgaria increased 8 times; Exports grew annually by 23%; The country's credit rating has increased - in 2000, Bulgaria's credit rating was B+, and in 2006, the rating company S&P awarded Bulgaria BBB+. Accordingly, in this 6-year period, the interest rate payable on treasury bonds decreased from 7.4% to 4.4%.It is also interesting to note that on January 1, 2007, when Bulgaria became a member of the European Union, GDP per capita was $5,800; In Georgia, which is still only a candidate country, the GDP per capita is 8,145 USD, which means we are ahead of Bulgaria.Consider another example - Romania; It also became a member of the EU on January 1, 2007, and then its GDP per capita was 8,200 US dollars, i.e. the same level as our country has today. It is interesting what is happening today - in Romania, this figure is 18,000 US dollars. It amounts to 16,000 US dollars in Bulgaria, or 2 times more than in Georgia. This is where our country is going," said Soso Pkhakadze, adding that some of the citizens will feel the benefits of Georgia's candidate country status in 6 months, some in one year, some in two years, etc.

The president of BAG says that the granting of candidate country status has created positive expectations and sentiments in businesses of all sizes."Everyone's mood and general pathos is positive - everyone feels that some new point in the countdown is beginning. As a rule, business is done when there are positive expectations and sentiments. Businesses make investments, employ people and more, but all this always involves risks - this is the literal truth in business. Of course, financial and business plans are very important, but positive attitudes and positive expectations are most important and crucial to doing business.

"The higher your expectation of success and the more confident you are in it, the more you invest and look at the future with a different eye," said Soso Pkhakadze.As for the price of granting the status of a candidate country to Georgia in a wider dimension, the president of BAG singled out a greater sense of security and raising the international image.

"What will the candidate status bring? The first is greater security of the country. Whenever we talked with foreign investors, one of the main and first questions was regional problems and what answer should a businessman have at such a time?! It is understandable that you share your position in this regard as delicately and professionally as possible, but the fact that the region is not safe, unfortunately, is as clear as 2X2. And from December 14, that is, after Georgia has the status of a candidate country for the European Union, the situation changes dramatically, and we will soon feel it well. The security parameters of our country will be improved, the trust in the country will increase and the image of the country will increase accordingly.

What does this mean - companies have more opportunities to attract investments; Private entities will have greater access to capital markets, allowing us to implement more projects, expand businesses and employ more people. All of this ultimately translates into a strengthened and resilient business not only creating new jobs, but gradually managing to further increase the wage level, which has grown significantly in the last two years, although I would like it to grow further. A population with high purchasing power means increased domestic consumption, which is the main driver of the country's economy and business.In a country where business is weak, there cannot be high wages, and if the business is developed and stands strong, in this case, more people are employed and wages are higher, which is the basis for raising the standard of living of citizens", said Soso Pkhakadze.

Levan Dolidze - Instead of focusing on the steps that should bring us further progress, we are creating new barriers on the path to the EU