The European Commission has adopted a new assistance package for Georgia totalling €100 million. The money will support reforms related to the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and agreements on mobility.
Speaking from the Georgian capital Tbilisi, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn said ''With the Association Agreement, the EU-Georgia relations have moved to another level. The assistance package will support central elements in this ever closer relationship''.
The new package will additionally support Georgia in meeting its reform objectives in the sectors of public administration, agriculture and rural development. It will help to promote an active civil society, assist key Georgian institutions in implementing the Association Agreement and advance Georgia's visa liberalisation process with the EU.
This package is comprised of four actions:
- ‘Support to Public Administration Reform’. This will help modernise the Georgian civil service, in line with the European principles of public administration. It will provide help to improve the accountability of the public sector through the reduction of corruption and by helping to increase the openness towards citizens. The EU's support in this area also aims to increase the accessibility of better quality public services across the entire country and to support local government reform including decentralisation of responsibilities.
- ‘European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development in Georgia, phase II (ENPARD II)’. This aims to promote agriculture, food safety and rural development policies and reforms, as well as improve the delivery of services to the rural population. In line with the requirements of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), EU support in this area will help to diversify rural economic opportunities and enhance the competitiveness of the Georgian agriculture sector.
- ‘Technical Cooperation Facility’. This Facility aims to enhance the capacity of the main Georgian public institutions to comply with commitments stemming from the Association Agreement in the key areas of energy, transport, electronic communications, environment and climate change. The action also supports Georgia’s implementation of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) and the Readmission Agreement, particularly on migration management, as well as combatting organised crime and domestic violence. Finally, it supports participation of Georgian beneficiary institutions in EU programmes ‘Creative Europe’ and ‘Horizon 2020’.
- ‘Civil Society Facility’. This Facility seeks to improve the sustainability of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Georgia, with a particular focus on diversifying their funding sources. It will also help strengthen the capacities of CSOs regarding their organisation and management as well as advocacy and oversight, particularly in the framework of monitoring the EU-Georgia agreements.
The funding comes from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), the main financial and cooperation instrument through which funding is given to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries, including Georgia.
The three main priorities of the current programming period (2014-2017) are:
- Public administration reform;
- agriculture and rural development;
- justice reform.
In June 2014 the EU and Georgia signed an Association Agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA). The Agreement significantly deepens political and economic ties with the EU in the framework of the Eastern Partnership. Additionally, respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, constitute essential elements of this new generation Association Agreement. In addition, mobility of persons is high on the EU-Georgia agenda, particularly through implementation of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) and Readmission Agreement.
For further information:
European Commission website on European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/neighbourhood/eastern-neighbourhood/index_en.htm
EU Neighbourhood InfoCentre: http://www.enpi-info.eu/
EU – Georgia factsheet: http://eeas.europa.eu/factsheets/news/eu-georgia_factsheet_en.htm