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Brussels, 20 January 2009

European Commission’s crisis response assistance to Georgia in 2008 reaches €120 million

As European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner visits Georgia on 20th January, the European Commission's post-crisis support for Georgia has reached nearly €120 million.The Commissioner will be announcing the latest release of funds (€61.5 million) to the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili during her trip. One of the main aims of this funding is to answer the needs and help the resettlement of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) resulting from the conflicts in Georgia in the 1990s and August 2008. During her visit the Commissioner will be meeting some of those who have had to leave their homes at an IDP centre in Tbilisi which has been refurbished with Commission funds. The funds form part of the ‘Growth and Stabilisation Package for Georgia’ of up to €500 million covering the period 2008-2010, that was pledged by the European Commission after last summer's conflict.

On the eve of her visit, Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: "The Commission has acted swiftly to help Georgia in its time of need. Providing accommodation for Internally Displaced Persons is crucial. The money released so far is making a real difference, and alleviating suffering of those who need it most. The EU is the biggest donor supporting Georgia after the conflict, and by working together closely, we will help to re-launch the economy, which has suffered greatly. It is also the EU that mobilised other donors to pledge unprecedented sums to support the country, to ensure that Georgia finds its way back to prosperity and stability".

The objectives of the European Commission assistance package for Georgia in 2008-2010 are to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to IDPs, support economic recovery, macro-financial stabilisation and rehabilitation of infrastructure. The assistance package also includes support towards the stabilization of the security situation in Georgia, by contributing to the budget of the EU Civilian Monitoring Mission deployed to Georgia on 1 October 2008.

The Commission assistance will support the Georgian Government's strategy for IDPs which is aimed at creating conditions for a dignified and safe return of IDPs as well as supporting decent living conditions and participation in society.

Adding the €120 million for post-crisis assistance to the total regular funding for Georgia of €42 million the committed financial aid to Georgia for 2008 has reached more than €160 million.

For more information on EU-Georgia relations:

Technical note for TV:

EbS will cover the Commissioner's visit to Georgia, including her visit to the IDP resettlement camp in Tbilisi and the press conference with Georgian Prime Minister, Grigol Mgalobishvili. Footages will be available from EbS (in 16:9 format) and by EbS+ (in 4:3 format) from 20 January at 19h00 Brussels time.

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