European Union underlines importance of connectivity and international trade for Georgia at Silk Road (16/10/2015)

At the Silk Road conference in Tbilisi on 15-16 October 2015, Mr Vassilis Maragos, acting director for the Eastern Neighbourhood in the Directorate dealing with Enlargement and EU Neighbourhood countries, including Georgia, stressed the importance of tradeand connectivity for Georgia's future and the need for further economic development.

Mr Maragos at the Silk Road Confernce, first from right

Mr Maragos stressed the EU focus on connectivity in the region, which covers issues such as transport, energy, people to people contacts and reinforced trade opportunities.  In practice, the EU is developing a coordinated pipeline of projects, facilitation of border crossings, safer transport and a reinforced dialogue aiming at harmonisation of standards and sector reforms. 

In line with this, he stressed that a few weeks ago the EU and China signed a memorandum on a joint connectivity platform, noting that:

"Interconnections between China and Europe via Georgia will be beneficial for the citizens of all the sides involved, but we need better coordination and monitoring of the transport corridor for this to happen. Only focusing on transport is not enough, however, we need to accompany this with reforms to develop the competitiveness of economies involved. With this in mind, the EU is providing €45 million support programme for development of business climate and enterprise directly to Georgia, and Georgia will also benefit from the €200 million DCFTA Facility, which should unlock up to €2 billion for business investments for Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova."

Background:

The EU will assist the Georgian Government in the implementation of the DCFTA through a three year programme, which will focus on:

(1) further strengthening the policy framework for trade and the development of SMEs;

(2) improving the functioning of the institutions regulating and supporting the trade and the private-sector;

(3) strengthening economic actors and SMEs while adjusting to the new regulatory environment according to the DCFTA; (4) the economic integration of returned migrants, women in business and young entrepreneurs.

This programme is complemented by the DCFTA Facility for SMEs, a regional initiative of the EU and the European Financing Institutions (EBRD and EIB at the first place) aiming at mobilising about €200 million of EU grant to unlock approximately €2 billion of investments in the SMEs of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

For additional information, please see: www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/georgia

For more information, please contact: Delegation of the European Union to Georgia Communications Manager, Mikolaj Bekasiak, Mikolaj-Swietopelek.BEKASIAK@eeas.europa.eu