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 opened its Delegation to Georgia in Tbilisi in 1995. Relations particularly intensified after the 2003 "Rose Revolution", when the EU reiterated its support to the country’s commitment for economic, social and political reforms.
By signing the Association Agreement (AA) in June 2014, relations between the EU and Georgia were brought to a qualitatively totally new stage. The Association Agreement with its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) foresees far reaching political and economic integration with the EU by significantly deepening political and economic ties, bringing Georgia closer to Europe. The EU and Georgia have also agreed an EU-Georgia Association Agenda, which defines a set of priorities for the period 2014-2016 with a view to implement the AA/DCFTA. The Agenda will help Georgia to fully enjoy the benefits of the AA, which provisional application (notably its trade part) started as of 1 September 2014. The provisional application is enabling the implementation of the most of the agreement, even before the ratification procedures are completed in the National Parliaments of the 28 EU Member States.
The negotiations on the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, were launched by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, on 15 July 2010 in Batumi and were completed on 22 July 2013. The Association Agreement was initialled at the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit of November 2013, signed in Brussels on 27 June 2014 and ratified by the Georgian Parliament on 18 July 2014.
The EU - Georgia Association Agreement is the outcome of the EU's “European Neighbourhood Policy” (ENP) launched in 2004 with the objective to bring closer to each other the enlarged EU and its neighbours and to enhance prosperity, stability and security of all concerned. It helped to build ties in new areas of cooperation and encouraged Georgia’s objective of further approximation with European economic and social structures.
By launching the more advanced "Eastern Partnership" in spring 2009, which Georgia, alongside Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, was part of, the EU stressed the importance of this region and the privileged relationship it was offering to it.
The EU opened a visa dialogue with Georgia in June 2012, and a Visa Liberalisation Action Plan was presented in early 2013. The EU expert missions on implementation of the second phase of the Action Plan were completed in March 2015. The European Commission is expected to provide a report ahead the Riga summit (May 2015).
In December 2005, the EU granted Georgia General System of Preferences + (GSP+) [320 KB], which was extended in 2008 and in 2014, and will continue during a transition period of two years after the entry into force of the DCFTA. The GSP + provides non-reciprocal tariff reduction on duty free access to Georgian exports to the EU.
The EU started assisting in the early 1990s Georgia’s efforts to overcome the consequences of conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and has continued to support projects in those areas after the August 2008 war, while significantly contributing to Georgian efforts to improve the life of the numerous IDPs.
The European Union appoints since July 2003 an EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus (EUSR) (since 2011 - EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia. This underpins the EU's commitment to actively contribute to the peaceful resolution of conflicts and to confidence-building efforts in the South Caucasus, while reaffirming Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty. The civilian European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia was launched in October 2008 in accordance with the EU-mediated Six Point Agreement which ended the August war. The EUMM’s mandate is to monitor these agreements, particularly by patrolling the areas adjacent to the Administrative Boundary Lines with the breakaway regions.