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Tbilisi, 5 December 2023. The European Union and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia marked the successful completion of the Facility for the Implementation of the Association Agreement in Georgia – II (AA Facility). This significant milestone underscores the dedicated efforts made to enhance the implementation of the Association Agreement, a pivotal accord between the EU and Georgia signed in 2014.

“I would like to highlight how important the work of the facility has been in preparing the ground work for Georgia’s European integration. The basis of EU relations with Georgia continues to be the AA/DCFTA, and it was through the implementation of the agreements that your country was in a position to apply for membership of the EU. The recent enlargement report highlights how much progress you have made in implementing those commitments. The Facility has helped you with this” emphasized H.E. Pawel Herczynski, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, while addressing the audience.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Archil Karaulashvili, Director General of the General Directorate for European Integration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, highlighted: “Georgia – historically the oldest European state sharing European values, has always been a part of United Europe and today we are making a significant step towards gaining our historical place in the family of European Nations. (…) Georgia, and its state institutions have necessary capacities to actively engage and successfully navigate through the ambitious and complex process of transformation. The EU-funded Association Agreement Facility has been playing an important role in supporting Georgian state institutions by providing necessary expertise”.

Mr. David Songulashvili Chair of the Parliamentary Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee, stated: “Our collaboration with the AA Facility has been at the forefront of advancing Georgia’s EU integration agenda. Since the project’s launch in 2019, Georgia has transformed from an associated partner to a nation with a clear European perspective. As we mark the completion of the project, the historic decision on Georgia’s candidate status is just around the corner. Looking back, I recall several policies and legislation we have developed in partnership with the AA Facility, but perhaps the most significant actions were directed at strengthening our capacity for vigilant oversight of the AA/DCFTA implementation.

The journey we embarked upon together almost 5 years ago has been nothing short of historic for Georgia. The AA Facility team has worked tirelessly alongside many of you, our esteemed beneficiaries from both the executive and legislative branches of power. Reflecting on our collective efforts, it fills me with pride to witness the tangible change we have brought about in terms of enhancing policy planning, streamlining the coordination of AA implementation, advancing the law approximation and contributing to the impressive number of legal acts developed across various sectors.” Dr. Jolanta Taczyńska, the AA Facility Team Leader, accentuated. 

At the closing ceremony, a short video clip was presented, highlighting the AA Facility’s main achievements and offering perspectives from a diverse range of beneficiaries. The multi-faceted AA Facility assisted Georgia in a complex process of European integration. It fostered policy- and law-making processes, promoted institutional reforms and upgrading standards, strengthened parliamentary oversight, enhanced donor coordination, raised awareness and invested in capacity building for public servants. 

The AA Facility’s assistance has yielded over 500 analytical and knowledge products crafted by 140 international and local experts. This concerted effort has translated into approximately 400 diverse interventions spanning all key policy domains, benefiting more than 3000 Georgian officials and professionals.

Notable achievements include the implementation of a sophisticated electronic monitoring system which serves the dual purpose of multi-annual planning for Association Agreement commitments and rigorously tracking the alignment of domestic legislation with the EU acquis. Additionally, it plays a key role in shaping the strategic communication policy programming. Expertise provided by the AA Facility extends to obligations associated with the DCFTA and sectoral cooperation. Key areas of focus encompass Quality Infrastructure, Social Protection System, Food Safety, Consumer Protection, Competition, Entrepreneurship, Customs, Agriculture, Environment, Waste Management, Taxation, Energy, Banking, Public Procurement, Construction, Health, and more. Furthermore, the AA Facility has played a vital role in enhancing the oversight prerogatives of the Parliament of Georgia. This comprehensive support includes coaching thematic rapporteurs, facilitating thematic inquiries on prioritized policy areas, and conducting post-legislative scrutiny of selected legislation.

The event brought together over one hundred representatives from the Government, Parliament, local and international partners as well as the expert community. Attendees included the AAF’s beneficiaries and stakeholders from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Justice, other line ministries, Administration of the Government of Georgia, governmental agencies as well as the Members and staffers of the Parliament of Georgia. 

The European Union remains committed to supporting the Association Agreement implementation process through various programmes and projects. The EU-funded Facility for the implementation of the Association Agreement, phase 2, stands out as a flagship project among others