Delegation of the European Union to Georgia

Georgia and the EU

02/08/2018 - 16:11
EU relations with Country

The European Union and Georgia enjoy a very close and positive relationship. The EU-Georgia Association Agreement entered into force in July 2016 and strives for political association and economic integration between the EU and Georgia. The EU and Georgia have also entered into a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), while Georgian citizens have benefitted from visa free travel to the Schengen area since 28 March 2017. The EU is Georgia's largest trading partner and provides over €100 million to Georgia annually in technical and financial assistance.

Guided by their common values, the EU supports peace and stability in Georgia as well as programmes of political and economic reform to enable social and economic development.

In June 2014, the EU and Georgia signed an Association Agreement (AA), which entered into force on July 1 2016. This, along with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement, builds a foundation for far-reaching Georgian political and economic integration with the EU. The ambition for Georgia includes ever increasing democracy and rule of law, human rights, good governance and economic development. The AA institutional framework establishes bodies such as the Association Council to oversee its application, with the Association Agenda defining priorities necessary for its implementation.

The AA is itself an outcome of the EU's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), an important part of the EU’s foreign policy, of which Georgia is one of 16 partner countries. It enhances the prosperity, stability and security of an enlarged EU and its neighbours. The launch of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) in 2009, which includes Georgia, extended cooperation and further highlighted the importance of the region. As well as bolstering reforms, the EaP works towards greater mobility of citizens and stronger collaboration in a number of sectors, such as transport, energy and the environment.

Additionally, the EU remains firmly committed to its policy of supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally-recognised borders as well as engagement with the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in support of longer-term conflict resolution. Since 2008, an EU Monitoring Mission has operated in the vicinity of the administrative boundary lines. Additionally, to address wider regional challenges of environmental concerns in the Black Sea region, the EU initiated increased cooperation through the Black Sea Synergy (BSS). 

Georgia has seen solid economic growth over the last few years, made possible partly due to ongoing economic reforms which have included overhauling tax collection procedures, fighting against corruption, opening up the country to foreign trade and investment, improving infrastructure and simplifying the business environment. The EU supports Georgia in developing its economic potential through international cooperation. This includes assistance in alignment with EU legislative standards.

The EU is also helping Georgia implement systematic Public Finance Management reform, whereby efficient budgeting, accounting and auditing of public resources will result in more effective allocation. The EU also supports the regional economic development policy of Georgia which creates new opportunities. 

On 27 June 2014 the European Union and Georgia signed the Association Agreement (AA), including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). The DCFTA has an ambitious objective of integration with the EU’s internal market, therefore is considered as the unique free trade agreement. As the main pillar of the AA, it contributes to modernization and diversification of economy in Georgia.

The provisional application of the DCFTA started on 1 September 2014. Meanwhile, Georgia benefited from the Generalised System of Preferences for a number of years and on 1 January 2017, country graduated from the program.

Trade between the EU and Georgia has been growing steadily over the years and today the EU is Georgia’s main trading partner. The DCFTA deepens Georgia's economic ties with the EU, and includes provisions on public procurement, common customs’ rules, along with technical and sanitary standards for goods such as food items, intellectual property rights and competition rules.

The EU is also committed to supporting the Georgian Government in strengthening its export competitiveness, for example, through the setting-up of Quality Management Systems and Quality Infrastructure Systems to assure standards are met. Since September, 2017 the European Commission online portal “Export Helpdesk" changed its name into "Trade Helpdesk” - Your guide to the EU market's import rules and taxes . This is an online service about market access to the EU.

Current Trade Figures

The EU is the main trade partner of Georgia. Around 27% of its trade takes place with the EU, followed by Turkey (13.6%) and Russia (11%). EU trade with Georgia accounts for 0.1% of its total trade with a turnover of €2.8 billion in 2018. EU exports to Georgia amounted to €2.1 billion in 2018. The key export products are mineral products, machinery and appliances, and chemical products. The key EU imports from Georgia include mineral products, agricultural products, base metals and chemical products. The EU imported goods to the value of €653 million from Georgia in 2018.

The EU provides over €100 million in assistance to Georgia annually. Funding comes mostly from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), which supports Georgia in achieving the goals set out in the AA.  The EU-Georgia Association Agenda sets out a roadmap to achieve these goals.  

The EU's key priorities for EU-Georgia cooperation (2017-2020) are set out in the Single Support Framework, which identifies three sectorial focus areas:

  • Public Administration Reform
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Justice Sector Reform.

Georgia also benefits from EU Regional and Multi-country Action Programmes funded under the ENI, which provide: contributions for infrastructure development; interconnectivity with neighbours in areas such as energy, transport and environment; support to civil society; and access to EU programmes like Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 and Creative Europe.

More information on specific initiatives can be found on the Projects page

Information about tenders and calls for proposals linked to technical cooperation.

In line with Goal 4 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the EU is committed to ‘ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’. The EU supports education in Georgia through direct contributions to the state budget and by providing funds for specific projects.

Additionally, there are a number of study and mobility opportunities within the EU which are open to Georgians. These are designed to facilitate exposure to the workings of the EU, its policies and issues, as well as promote inter-cultural understanding by supporting mobility between countries.

The EU recognises the valuable contribution that civil society makes to Georgian reform and development and supports it in a variety of ways.

The EU provides financial support to civil society actions through instruments such as the ENI, European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities thematic programme and Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). EU grant funding is allocated through Calls for Proposals. To be able to benefit from EU funding, all applicants must register in PADOR.   

The EU also holds regular consultations with civil society. The main framework for this is the Georgian Civil Society National Platform, which was established in 2010 and includes over 70 organisations.

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