The 2015 ENP package "Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2014" consists of a joint Communication and a set of country specific and regional reports. The report on Georgia underlines key developments and reform efforts in 2014 and makes recommendations for the year to come.
Georgia and the EU signed the Association Agreement including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA) on 27 June 2014. The Agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 September 2014. The implementation of the AA/DCFTA is guided by the Association Agenda, a set of priorities jointly agreed in June 2014. Political dialogue further intensified in 2014. Georgia and the EU continued successfully the visa liberalisation dialogue and the implementation of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements. As a result, the second implementation phase of the Visa Liberalisation Process was launched in October 2014.
Georgia continued the democratic transition of the country including with regard to human rights and fundamental freedoms: Local elections in June and July 2014 were generally in compliance with international standards, even though freedom of association and assembly were not fully ensured during the campaign. Georgia also initiated a constitutional reform. Electoral reforms in light of the parliamentary elections of 2016 have not yet been initiated.
In the justice sector, Georgia launched a reform of the Prosecutor's Office and made efforts to improve the independence of judges. Judicial independence remained fragile.
Georgia's prison system, the protection of children's rights and media freedom improved. An anti-discrimination law was adopted but the rights of minorities remained to be improved further.
The signature of a "treaty" between the Russian Federation and the breakaway territory of Abkhazia were severely criticised by the Georgian Government as violating Georgia's territorial integrity. This assessment was shared by the EU, as expressed in statements and in the EU’s bilateral contacts with the Russian Federation. A similar 'treaty' was signed with the breakaway region of South Ossetia only last week.
On the basis of the Country Progress Report, several actions are recommended to Georgia in the coming year, amongst others:
- ensuring separation of powers and checks and balances between executive, legislative and the judicial powers in the framework of constitutional reform; improving the political climate, amongst others, by ensuring space for opposition and cross-party dialogue;
- reforming the justice system to ensure full independence of the judiciary;
- increasing the accountability and democratic oversight of law enforcement agencies;
- participating constructively in the Geneva International Discussions; enhancing Georgia’s engagement policy towards the breakaway regions and take pragmatic steps to further open channels of communication and to encourage trade, education, travel and investment across the administrative boundary line;
- continuing close cooperation with the EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia and the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM);
- continuing sectorial reforms and ensuring a high standard of approximation to the EU acquis in order to successfully implement the AA/DCFTA; raising public awareness and visibility of the AA/DCFTA and merits of political association and economic integration with the EU.
Please find the whole list of recommendations in the Country Progress Report here:
For further information:
I. EU financial support:
In 2014, EU funding through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) amounted to €131 million to support implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Are, justice reform, and the continuation of existing programmes to support public institutions, development of rural business, and human rights. Part of the funding (€30 million) for Georgia was granted from the ENI umbrella programme, the incentive-based mechanism that rewards progress in building deep and sustainable democracy.
A total of up to €410 million will be available for Georgia in the years 2014-2017 to support reforms in key areas, such as public administration reform, agriculture and rural development, justice. Complementary support for the modernisation of public institutions and for civil society can be provided outside the priority sectors. Total figures are indicative: final allocations will depend on the country's needs and commitment to reforms.
In addition to ENI, in 2014 Georgia also benefitted from other EU Support such as the thematic programme for Civil Society and Local Authorities (€2.55 million). Macro-financial assistance for a total of €46 million (€23 million in the form of grants and €23 million in the form of loans) is also foreseen to be disbursed in 2015 (a first disbursement of €13 million took place in January 2015), should the policy conditions be met and the IMF programme remain on track.
Further information on financial cooperation can be found in Section IV of the Statistical Annex and on the following websites of the European Commission:
II. Further sources of information:
- Joint Communication on the implementation of the ENP in 2014
- Progress report for Georgia with the full list of recommendations
- EU-Georgia Association Agenda
- The European Neighbourhood Policy in general:
b.) European Commission
- Website of Ms Federica Mogherini, HR/VP
- Website of Mr Johannes Hahn, Member of the European Commission for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations