European Union External Action

Georgia and the EU

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. 

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, systematically removing all import duties on goods and opening up markets for services, investment and public procurement. It also includes agreements on issues such as common customs’ rules, along with technical and sanitary standards for goods such as food items, intellectual property rights and competition rules.

Georgia also continues to benefit from the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP). Under the current GSP Regulation (2014), Georgia qualifies for a special incentive which rewards sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) with advantageous access to the EU market. 

Trade figures for 2015

  • 31 % of Georgia's trade was with the EU, followed by Turkey (around 17 %), Azerbaijan (over 10 %) and Russia (about 7 %)
  • EU-Georgia trade increased by 0.75 % year-on-year reaching €2.58 billion. EU imports from Georgia increased by 12 % (to €742 million), whereas EU exports slightly decreased by 3.5 % (to €1.84 billion).
  • Georgia mostly exported mineral products (ferro-alloys), agricultural products (hazelnuts), base metals (copper ores) and chemicals (organic as well as fertilisers) to the EU.
  • Trade with Georgia accounts for 0.1 % of the EU's total trade.
  • The main EU imports to Georgia were: fuel and mining products; machinery and transport equipment; pharmaceuticals (almost 50 % of imports) as well as chemicals and fertilisers; plastics; optical and medical equipment; furniture; meat; and beverages and spirits.

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. It also created the Export Helpdesk, an online service about market access to the EU.

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 (2014-2017) 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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