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Fule speaks about Association Agreement and the EU membership

By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, March 6
Georgia will receive additional financial aid form the European Union. Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule announced in Tbilisi that the EU will provide Georgia with 22.5 million EUR to support reforms in monitoring public finances and strengthening democracy. The document was signed by Fule and Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili on March 4th.

“This program creates a new mechanism to allow the parliament to make recommendations on the state budget. Civil society will be informed and consulted. All this should ultimately lead to better management of public spending and accountability,” Fule said after signing the agreement.

Georgia’s reform of public finance is expected to contribute to good governance and public sector accountability. 19 million of the 21 million EUR shall be directed to the state budget and the remaining 2 million EUR transferred to technical Assistance projects to enhance the capacities of governmental institutions.

The EU will provide an additional 1.5 million EUR to strengthen the parliamentary democracy in Georgia. The agreement was signed by Parliamentary Speaker David Usupashvili and the EU commissioner. The project aims to promote the role of the parliament in the governing process, strengthen its policy-making capacity and enhance its role in the European integration process.

According to the commissioner, the project is a clear expression of the EU’s interest in strengthening democracy in Georgia.

In order to discuss the main benefits of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and the important aspects of EU-Georgia relations, Commissioner Fule held a meeting with the representatives of Civil Society in Georgia.

In his opening speech, Fule explained that the AA agreement does not only entail the rules and regulations Georgia will have to follow and of course it cannot serve as a short cut to increase job market, higher wages, or instant economic success.

"It will introduce reforms that will progressively bring Georgia to resemble the Member States of the European Union - economically, socially, and politically,” Fule said.

To display the economic potential of Georgia after it has signed the DCFTA, Fule compared Ukraine and Polish economy and said the two countries had largely identical GDP per capita in 1990. However, Polish GDP per capita rose 66% in five years, after having launched the economic reforms supported by the EU-Poland Association Agreement.

Georgia-EU relations were the major topic Fule discussed with the Head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II. He assured the Commissioner that the country is looking towards Europe and the Church fully supports this process.

“I want to say that incorrect information has been disseminated in some countries, suggesting that the Georgian Church is hindering this process. I want to assure you that the Georgian Church will do everything in order to realize this idea,” the Patriarch told Fule.

Before leaving Tbilisi Fule announced President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso will visit Georgia in June. According to the EU Commissioner President Barroso will arrive in Georgia to demonstrate his great support to the country.