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Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy

Georgia Donors Conference: Closing Remarks

Georgia Donors Conference
Brussels, 22 October

Prime Minister

Mssrs les Ministres

Dear Colleagues

As we draw this conference to a close, I have great pleasure in announcing that, based on preliminary assessments, a total of EUR 2.8 bn over three years have been pledged today. That we should have achieved the target of assistance set out by the Joint Needs Assessment is a major success. It sends a strong signal of political and practical support to the people of Georgia. I would like to thank you all for your contribution to that. I am particularly pleased that the European Union has contributed a significant proportion of the total funds. I am proud that the contribution of the Commission, our Member States and the European Investment Bank, together total some EUR 863m in grants and loans, that is a third of the total effort.

On behalf of the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, I would like to thank the French Presidency of the European Union, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, the incoming European Union Presidency, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and my Co-Chair, Vice-President of the World Bank, Mr Katsu). Together they have set the tone, for the major achievement we have seen today which is all the more impressive in the light of an uncertain global financial environment.

A second key factor in the success of today’s conference has of course been the Georgian government delegation, headed by Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, which has provided a strong foundation of commitment and ownership. We now wish them success with the challenges ahead, which will require sustained political will, and a readiness to continue political and economic reform efforts.

Donor Participation has also been impressive, with high turn out of both countries and international organisations. I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of staff at both the World Bank and United Nations in cooperation with the EC, EIB and others in preparing the Joint Needs Assessment (JNA) on a very short time-scale. And as Bernard Kouchner pointed out, the work of UNHCR deserves special mention. Finally, my thanks also to all those who helped organize today’s event.

But work doesn’t stop here. On the contrary, in a way this is where the real work begins. As my Co-Chair rightly pointed out earlier, effective channeling of aid is as important as the amount. The EU is intent on playing its part in this as I am sure is Georgia.

Prime Minister, one of the messages I believe this conference sends today, is the international community’s commitment to ensuring that Georgia’s hard-won, impressive development gains, are not lost. You can rest assured that the European Union will remain a solid, committed partner, determined to continue accompanying your Government in this process through the European Neighbourhood Policy, and in due course, the Eastern Partnership.

Our conference also sends wider political messages about the need to ensure that NGOs as well as our humanitarian and reconstruction experts have the access they need to work effectively. This also applies to the EU Monitoring Mission which should have full access to all parts of Georgia. I hope that these messages will be heard.

I said in my opening remarks that today’s conference would show that the international community walks its talk on global governance. I think that we’ve been up to the mark.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your attention.

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