The economic cooperation between the European Union and Georgia is very strong. The EU’s aim is for Georgia to be a strong, prosperous and independent partner, empowered to offer its citizens better opportunities. As Georgia moves forward on the EU enlargement path, economic integration between the EU and Georgia will continue to grow as Georgia approximates its legislation, laws and standards to those of the EU.
Since 2014, the Deep & Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) gradually opened up the EU market for Georgian businesses and products. The EU is now Georgia’s main trading partner.
In the medium to long term, the EU works together with Georgian authorities to implement the Economic and Investment Plan (EIP), in line with the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. Under the plan, the EU has already mobilised EUR 1.9 billion in public and private investments to strengthen digital, energy, and transport connections in Georgia and between Georgia and the EU. It also supports small and medium sized (SMEs) businesses.
SMEs are the backbone of the Georgian economy. In 2022, they accounted for 52.8% of the value added by all companies and employed 58.3% of the workforce. Nevertheless, SMEs in Georgia often lack access to finance to fund their transformation or expansion, to knowledge, and to markets. What EU offers includes policy and institutional reform, budget support, financing, grants, sharing of best practices, and market opportunities. Thanks to this support, Georgia is witnessing an increasing number of SMEs – aligned with EU standards – emerging in clusters. These enterprises are empowered to perform better, creating jobs for local people, and with increased outputs. Proposing products and services aligned with EU standards benefits the Georgian population as a whole – employment opportunities are created and the overall economic performance of the country is strengthened. The EU’s support is particularly focused on enabling SMEs to carry out their own green transition – in line with EU standards – and to support businesses led by women.
In collaboration with the Government, the EU seeks to modernise Georgia’s agriculture – one of the country’s most crucial sectors, employing approximately half of its population. This support is benchmarked against the best European practices in the field and focuses on increasing the quality, environmental and food safety standards and overall competitiveness of the sector, as well as improving the livelihoods of rural communities by creating economic opportunities and promoting local public-private partnerships.
The EU works closely with Georgian public institutions in improving the labour market for Georgian citizens. This is done by expanding high-quality vocational education, putting forward fair labour policies, and supporting entrepreneurial training. Lack of employment is a key concern for the people in Georgia as well as for businesses, and it is crucial to ensure that job seekers are equipped with the skills that the international market demands. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, Science and Youth in Georgia, the EU is focused on reforming skills matching services and developing new education opportunities – across all regions of Georgia, and specifically focusing on the nation’s youth, women, and vulnerable citizens.
Lastly, the EU is active in supporting the capacity building of Georgia’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) system. Since 2016, Georgia is an associated partner in the Horizon Europe programme, the largest research and innovation programme in the world.