Brussels, 18 November 2014 - Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and Irakli Garibashvili the Prime Minister of Georgia meet today in Brussels and signed a Financing Agreement launching a new programme in support of regional development in Georgia.
Following the meeting Commissioner Hahn said:
‘I am particularly glad to sign the financing agreement of the Programme ‘Support to Regional Development - Phase II’.
As you know, Regional Policy is a crucial area for the EU. This policy has brought tangible results in areas such as transport networks and infrastructure, job creation, innovation and reduction of disparities between regions. Cohesion Policy has played a key role in the transformation of the EU Member States which have joined in 2004.
This success story is something that the EU is happy to share with its neighbours. In the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative, we encourage policy dialogue and cooperation in the field of regional development. It is about sharing our experience and key elements of the EU cohesion policy, adapting it to the situation in Georgia.
This €30 million programme we sign today will build upon results achieved through a first phase of the regional development programme implemented between 2011 and 2013. This long-term cooperation demonstrates the increasing maturity of the policy-making process in Georgia, which allows the EU to provide more in depth support based on foundations set earlier.
The first phase of our cooperation laid the groundwork for the Georgian Government’s Regional Development Plan 2015-2017, which was adopted earlier this year, and which forms the last piece of a series of integrated steps starting at the municipal level.
This second phase will focus on helping the Government better plan and manage public funds used at the regional level in a wide-ranging set of sectors including infrastructure, support to SMEs, tourism, rural development and vocational education. The programme will also support the reinforcement of human resources and statistics in the areas of regional development.
In the mid-term, the programme will promote better linkages between regional strategies and investment - be it public or private - in the regions of Georgia.’