Brussels, 17 July 2014
Commissioner Füle to visit Georgia to announce new support for trade, private sector development and justice reform
Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, will visit Georgia tomorrow to participate in the Parliamentary hearing on the ratification of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA). The AA/DCFTA will significantly deepen political and economic relations between the EU and Georgia.
“With the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, Georgia is demonstrating its willingness to implement comprehensive reforms to move closer to EU standards. We fully support the country’s modernisation efforts and ambitious goal of moving closer to the EU,” said Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy.
During his visit, the Commissioner will, together with Georgian authorities, by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, launch the Single Support Framework for EU support to Georgia, which sets strategic objectives and priorities for future cooperation in 2014-2017. Public administration reform, agriculture and rural development and justice sector reform will be the three priority sectors. These will be complemented by support to the implementation of AA/DCFTA and support to civil society.
The Commissioner will also announce a first package of EU assistance for 2014 under the new Single Support Framework. The fresh funding is designed to help Georgia implement the DCFTA and facilitate trade reform and private sector development, with a particular focus on small businesses (SMEs). In the justice sector, the new EU assistance is expected to improve the administration of justice, consolidate the rule of law and strengthen human rights’ protection in line with international and European standards.
The policy context
The Eastern Partnership is the main policy framework for EU-Georgia relations. It represents the Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy and aims to bring Georgia closer to the European Union. The EU-Georgia Association Agreement (including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area) was signed on 27 June this year.
The Single Support Framework 2014-17
The Single Support Framework (SSF) for EU support to Georgia was adopted on 11 June 2014. It is a programming document which will chart EU support to Georgia in the period of 2014-2017. The indicative allocation for the whole period is foreseen between €335 million and €410 million. The SSF has been consulted with national authorities, civil society, EU institutions and EU Member States.
The three following priority sectors of intervention have been agreed: public administration reform, agriculture and rural development and justice sector reform. In addition, complementary support will be provided for training and knowledge sharing to support the implementation of commitments deriving from EU-Georgia agreements; and for civil society to build stronger democratic processes and accountability systems.
Annual Action Programme 2014
The EU annual support package for Georgia (Annual Action Programme 2014), contributes to the Eastern Partnership objectives. It provides €101 million of bilateral allocation to Georgia for two actions:
The funding will also contribute to further strengthening core trade institutions, whose ability to function well is critical for the correct implementation of DCFTA requirements over the next few years. It will ensure a smooth continuation of reforms in priority trade-related areas such as food safety, consumer protection, market surveillance and competition. This process will create enhanced economic opportunities for all, including vulnerable groups such as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
However, these are long-term processes and a number of gaps still need to be addressed. The new programme will contribute to consolidate the independence, professionalism, impartiality and efficiency of the judiciary, as well as access to justice and right to a fair trial.
Additional support in 2014
The Annual Action Programme 2014 complements an additional €30 million support granted to Georgia already in May 2014 through the 'More for More' mechanism of the new European Neighbourhood Instrument (see details).
The support focused on: the modernisation of public institutions, the protection of the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, and the competitiveness of agriculture and rural business (European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development, ENPARD). The Financing Agreement for the ENPARD support will also be signed by the Commissioner tomorrow (see details).
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