Recently Georgia signed Association Agreement with EU, which includes Free Trade agreement with EU as well. Georgian Politicans were so happy, that they rushed to announce some great plans - and so MP of Georgia announced, that Georgia is eagger to have full EU membership in next 5-10 years.
So far so good.
On the other hand, newly elected president of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has already announced, that he is not willing to see any enlargement in European Union for next 5 years, mainly because none of the existing candidate countries could full-fill requirements to join EU in next 5 years.
Since Georgia is not even candidate country for full EU membership - it's hard to believe that Georgia could join in next 5 years.
So it might be 10 years then? 10 years sound more realistic, but again, I'm not so sure regarding to this also.
My understanding that Georgia one day might become member of EU is only after or together when Turkey will join EU (if that gonna happen at all).
Now, since I'm more practical guy, liking some real data instead of political/geopolitical speculations, I decided to compare Georgia and EU candidate countries by GDP per capita. Of course I could compare by GDP as well - but this wouldn't answer on question - how rich/poor is Georgia compared to other Candidate countries (Please, take in note Georgia is not an EU candidate country yet)
So far EU has 5 candidate countries for full membership in EU - Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.
GDP per Capita in EU candidate countries and Georgia in 2013
As we can see from chart above - GDP per capita in Georgia in 2013 is still beyond FYR of Macedonia, standing at $3.602 thousands.
Next move on Georgia's way for Full membership in EU would be to get an official invitation to be a candidate country, seems Georgia should increase it's GDP per capita at least by 25% before Europe could offer such an invitation. Taking in account that GDP annual growth in Georgia for last 5 years stays at 3.7%, it could take some 5-6 years before Georgia receives such an invitation. Ofcourse Georgian economy could develop more intense, and I believe Georgians politicans believes in that as well.
On the other hand - newest member of European Union - Croatia, which joined EU in July 1st, 2013, had GDP per capita $13.159 thousands (2012)
Now, another EU enlargement happened in 2007, when Romania and Bulgaria joined EU, at that time their GDP per capita was about $8.170 thousands and $5.581 respectively. Both of the countries are sometimes refereed as the poorest in EU. GDP per capita in Bulgaria in 2013 was $7.296 thousands while in Romania $9.499.
Another interesting question about future of EU is United Kingdom's planned referendum in 2017 to stay or leave EU (Brits seems are mad of cheap labour force from Eastern European countries)
Anyhow - although membership in large European Union might sound tempeting, the things are not going smoothly there. Let's be honest - it's all about money, economics, production - new markets e.t.c.
Instead of waiting what benefits Georgia could gain after eventual joining EU - Georgia should work things out in it's internal markets, produce more, work less. Wine and mineral waters are great here, but does Georgia produces anything else here?
Returning to topic of this article - could Georgia join EU in next 5-10 years? I doubt that it will happen in next 5 years, but speaking of 10 years - it might happen. But again - much is dependant on that will Turkey join or not. I do not believe that Georgia could join EU without direct borders with it.