For more than three decades, the European Union has fostered a unique and close partnership with Georgia, supporting the country’s continued development through knowledge and experience sharing, expertise, innovation and financial support. The relationship between the EU and Georgia is based on shared values of peace, freedom, democracy, human rights and inclusive economic growth.
Today, the EU is Georgia’s largest trading partner, focused on the introduction of high standards and quality, while respecting and promoting Georgian heritage, traditions and culture. The EU has been the catalyst for the continued and systemic improvements in the country’s public sector performance, by serving as one of the largest supporters of Georgia’s Public Administration Reform agenda in line with the European principles and best practices. The EU has created myriad opportunities for the country’s younger population to live and study in Europe, enabling our valuable youth to return after their studies to utilise this acquired knowledge to build a more robust and successful Georgia.
The EU and Georgia work together for a cleaner environment and sustainable lifestyles. Vibrant collaborations between Georgians and EU citizens help to connect people digitally and physically, improve skills and enrich lives. The opportunity to freely travel to EU countries under a visa-free agreement has brought benefits to more than a million Georgian citizens. The EU is Georgia’s largest donor and provides around EUR 100 million of grant funds annually to support Georgia’s ambitious reform agenda.
Together we work for a strong, independent, democratic, resilient and prosperous Georgia, building European future for its people and next generations.
The EU’s aim is for Georgia to be a strong, prosperous and independent partner, empowered to offer its citizens better opportunities. In 2014, the EU and Georgia signed an Association Agreement, followed by the introduction of a preferential trade regime, the Deep & Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), that seeks to gradually open up the EU market for Georgian businesses and products.
As the backbone of the Georgian economy are small and medium enterprises, we support their development in country, with the funding, training, and export support. In collaboration with Government bodies, the EU seeks to modernise agriculture in the country: one of Georgia’s most crucial industries, providing employment for approximately half its population. Support is benchmarked by the best European practices in the field and focuses on increasing the quality, 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.
In Georgia, SMEs still lack access to knowledge, access to finance, access to markets. What EU offers includes policy and institutional reform, budget support, financing, grants, knowledge transfer, sharing best practices, market opportunities. In the present day, the country is witnessing an increasing number of SMEs – aligned with EU standards – emerging in clusters. These enterprises have been empowered to perform better, creating jobs for local people, and with increased outputs. By producing European-standing products and services the Georgian population benefits as a whole; employment opportunities are created, and the economic performance of the country is strengthened.
To galvanize the effectiveness of our support, together with the government institutions, the EU in Georgia works on developing the job and labour market for Georgian citizens by expanding high-quality vocational education, robustly improving labour policies, and supporting entrepreneurship training. The lack of employment is a key concern for Georgian citizens 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 in Georgia, the EU is focused on reforming skills matching services and developing new education opportunities – across all regions of Georgia, including for the nation’s youth, women and vulnerable citizens.
EU continuously supports the circulation of culture between its member states and Georgia in the fields of art, heritage, and other directions. The EU’s support to Georgian culture and historical heritage is generous giving the value to local culture, an indispensable element of resilient local communities and sustainable economic development.
The European Union respects and promotes the unique culture of Georgia. This includes the preservation of cultural heritage, promotion and protection of cultural goods and traditions, and the development of the creative sector. Starting from 2015, Georgia participates in the EU programme “Creative Europe”, which supports the development of cultural, creative, and audio-visual sectors. In team with European partners, international projects in such areas as opera, museum, architecture, movie festival, publishing were successfully carried out both in Georgia and in Europe. The current phase aims to support the news media sector and use of technologies, as well as strengthen the resilience of media and audio-visual industries.
The European Union works together with several Georgian cities to develop and promote local culture across the country. These cities will explore the potential of their cultural and creative sectors and implement actions that will make positive changes for their communities and beyond. EU helps local producers in their ambition to trade with their European counterparts with confidence by investing in equipment, standards, trainings, and processes that help small producers to preserve rich cultural traditions and at the same time generate income.