EU-Georgia relations

Badri Vadachkoria © Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Badri Vadachkoria © Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

EU-Georgia relations date back to 1992, shortly after Georgia declared its sovereignty following the break-up of the Soviet Union. Bilateral relations have further intensified since 2003, as consecutive governments have undertaken ambitious programmes of political and economic reforms.

In June 2014 the EU and Georgia signed an unprecedented Association Agreement pdf - 8 MB [8 MB] français (fr) , which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA). The Agreement pdf - 8 MB [8 MB] français (fr) significantly deepens political and economic ties with the EU in the framework of the Eastern Partnership. It follows the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the previous basis for EU-Georgia bilateral relations since 1999. An EU-Georgia Association Agenda was also agreed in June to help implement the AA/DCFTA through joint priorities for 2014-2016. It replaces the EU-Georgia ENP Action Plan of 2006.

The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area is expected to bring many economic benefits to Georgia by giving firms access to the EU's single market– the world's largest. This will create business opportunities, bring better goods and services, and boost competitiveness. The EU will work with the Georgian Government and businesses to achieve reform, and help upgrade goods and industries to the necessary standards.

The EU continues to support Georgia’s efforts to overcome the consequences of internal conflicts in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia dating back to the early 1990s as well as to stabilise the situation following the outbreak of hostilities in August 2008. It remains firmly committed to its policy of non-recognition and engagement, thus supports Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally-recognised borders as well as engagement with the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in support of longer term conflict resolution. The EU's efforts in this direction take the form of:

  • the EU Monitoring Mission,  set up in 2008 (whose current mandate runs until 14 December 2014) with 401 staff under Head of Mission Toivo Klaar
  • the EU Special Representative for South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, German diplomat Herbert Salber (appointed in June 2014), who inter alia co-chairs the Geneva International Discussions together with the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
  • Funding for conflict resolution efforts through its financial instruments.

A Framework Agreement on Georgia's participation in common security and defence policy (CSDP) operations took effect in March 2014. Georgia is already involved in 2 operations:

  • EUFOR RCA in the Central African Republic - as the second largest contributor, with 150 light infantry troops
  • EUTM Mali (2 experts).

The EU opened a visa dialogue with Georgia in June 2012, and a Visa Liberalisation Action Plan was presented in early 2013. Work on implementing the second phase of the Action Plan is expected to begin in autumn 2014.

The main EU cooperation objectives, policy responses and priority areas are set out in the Single Support Framework of June 2014. The main sectors for EU assistance are:

  1. Justice reform
  2. Agriculture and rural development
  3. Public sector reform

This is complemented by support for:

  • aligning Georgia's laws with EU legislation across all sectors
  • implementing the Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area
  • support to organisations making up civil society.

Georgia's indicative financial allocation for 2014 - 2017 is €335 – 410 million. The country received a total of €452.1 million in EU assistance between 2007 and 2013.

Most EU assistance to Georgia is channelled through Annual Action Programmes under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The thematic assistance programmes focusing on specific sectors such as human rights or civil society are another source of funding.

Georgia has also been part of the Eastern Partnership since its launch in 2009. This initiative promotes closer political association and economic integration with the EU by encouraging governments to reform and by strengthening the role of civil society in development.