The European Commission and the World Bank have invited international donors and financial institutions to a Donors' Conference for Georgia on 22 October in Brussels, which will be co chaired with the current French and future Czech presidencies of the EU. President José Manuel Barroso will open the conference and Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner will represent the European Commission in the discussions. The conference will call for pledges to mobilise external assistance to support the country in the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, reintegration of internally displaced people and in accelerating Georgia's recovery from the impact of the August 2008 conflict on its economy. The European Commission will present its framework for an assistance package of up to €500 million over three years, depending on the pace of recovery and the evolution of the Georgian economy.
Prior to the conference Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: "The constructive and rapid EU response to the Russia-Georgia crisis demonstrates that the EU is committed to its neighbourhood partners. At the donors' conference I will present a comprehensive Growth and Stabilisation package of up to €500 million for Georgia - a very substantial contribution that will help rebuild confidence in the Georgian economy. It is essential that the crisis should not distract Georgia from the political and economic reform efforts, that are, if anything, more important now than before this summer's conflict. The European Commission will continue to support Georgia in very concrete ways through the European Neighbourhood Policy and in future also under the new Eastern Partnership".
The Joint Needs Assessment led by the World Bank in cooperation with the European Commission and other international institutions has identified immediate and core investment needs. It is estimated that Georgia's needs amount to $ 3¼ billion (€2.38 billion) over a three year period to cover budget support, social sector support and infrastructure development.
The EU was one of the most active providers of assistance to Georgia in the immediate aftermath of the conflict the European Commission, delivering €6 million for humanitarian assistance.
The new EU assistance package uses the full spectrum of available financial instruments to provide assistance in four main areas: internally displaced persons, rehabilitation and economic recovery, macro-financial stabilisation and support to infrastructure, especially in the field of energy.
The European Commission's co-operation with Georgia is based on the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan adopted in November 2006. It sets out a comprehensive set of priorities for joint work by the EU and Georgian authorities at the political, economic, social and cultural level: support for democratic development, rule of law and governance, fiscal reform and public finance management, improving business environment, job creation, poverty reduction and social development. Currently the annual programme for Georgia under the National Indicative Programme amounts to an average volume of €40 million.
For more information on the EU-Georgia relations:
Commission's website on the Georgia Donors' Conference