Political & economic relations
Relations between the European Union (EU) and Georgia started in 1992 just after Georgia regained its sovereignty in the wake of the break-up of the Soviet Union. The EU was one of the first to assist Georgia in the difficult early years of transition. The European Commission (EC) opened its Delegation to Georgia in Tbilisi in 1995. Relations particularly intensified after the 2003 "Rose Revolution", when the EU reiterated its pledge to back the country’s commitment for economic, social and political reform.
The cornerstone of EU-Georgia relations is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) [171 KB] . The PCA was concluded in 1996, entered into force in 1999 for an initial period of ten years and will be from now on automatically extended on a yearly basis. The PCA provides for wide-ranging cooperation in the areas of political dialogue, trade, investment, economic, legislative and cultural cooperation. Through the PCA, which also eliminates trade quotas and the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights, the parties have accorded each other Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment. In December 2005 the EU granted Georgia General System of Preferences + (GSP+) [320 KB] , which was extended in 2008. The GSP + provides non-reciprocal tariff reduction on duty free access to Georgian exports to the EU.
In 2003-2004 the EC proposed a new foreign policy for the EU - the “European Neighbourhood Policy” (ENP) - with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all concerned. The inclusion of Georgia in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) on 14 June 2004 marked a significant step forward in EU – Georgian relations. The EU – Georgia ENP Action Plan [330 KB] was adopted on 14 November 2006. The Action Plan is a political document laying out the strategic objectives of the cooperation between Georgia and the EU. It covers a timeframe of five years. Its implementation will also help fulfil the provisions of the PCA, build ties in new areas of cooperation and encourage and support Georgia’s objective of further integration into European economic and social structures.
In spring 2009, the EU launched the Eastern Partnership with the objective of supporting political and socio-economic reforms in Georgia, as well as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. The Eastern Partnership foresees stronger political engagement with the EU namely the prospect of a new generation of Association Agreements and far reaching integration into the EU economy with Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton launched the negotiations for an EU – Georgia Association Agreement in Batumi on 15 July 2010.
The EU and Georgia completed the negotiation of an Association Agreement (AA), including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) element, in July 2013 and initialled the Agreement at the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit of November 2013. Both sides hope that work on the texts can be completed in order to allow for their signature in 2014, before the end of the current Commission's mandate.
Since the early 1990s, the EU has been assisting Georgia’s efforts to overcome the consequences of internal conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The appointment in July 2003 of a European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus (EUSR) underpins the intention of the EU for actively contributing to the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the South Caucasus and for deepening EU relations with Georgia and the other two countries of the region, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Until the August 2008 war between Georgia and Russia the EU was the largest donor in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Although still able to support projects for the local population in Abkhazia, EU-funded projects inside South Ossetia have come to an end since August 2008. In 2003 the Finnish diplomat, Ambassador Heikki Talvitie was appointed as the EUSR for the South Caucasus. He was succeeded in 2006 by Swedish Ambassador Peter Semneby.
In 2011 the French diplomat, Ambassador Philippe Lefort was appointed as the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia. Lefort replaced Ambassador Pierre Morel who had served as EUSR for the crisis in Georgia until August 2011 and Peter Semneby who had served as EUSR for the South Caucasus until February 2011.
The European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia was launched in October 2008 in accordance with the arrangements set out in the EU-mediated agreements between Moscow and Tbilisi after the August war. The EUMM’s mandate is to monitor these agreements and covers Georgia’s entire territory.