EU-Georgia relations

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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.

On the 27th of June 2014 the EU and Georgia signed an unprecedented Association Agreement , which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA). The Agreementsignificantly deepens political and economic ties with the EU under 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.

Since the early 1990s, the EU has been supporting Georgia’s efforts to overcome the consequences of internal conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It remains firmly committed to its policy of non-recognition and engagement, and supports Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally-recognised borders. EU support takes the form of:

  • the EU Monitoring Mission,  set up in 2008 (new mandate until end 2016) with 401 staff under Head of Mission Toivo Klaar
  • the EU Special Representative to the Southern Caucasus and Crisis in Georgia, German diplomat Herbert Salber (appointed in June 2014), who co-chairs the International Geneva Talks together  with the UN and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE.

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 started visa talks 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
  • 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.