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Micheil Saakashvili at the European Parliament
Georgia's President Micheil Saakashvili. Photo: European Parliament

In his inaugural speech in January 2004, against a backdrop of European and Georgian flags, Saakashvili stated his commitment to EU values:

'Today, we have not raised the flag of the European Union by chance this flag is Georgia's flag as well, as far as it embodies our civilization, our culture, the essence of our history and perspective, and our vision for the future of Georgia.'


'We will steer a steady course towards European integration.'

This translated into immediate steps. A special office the State Ministry for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration was set up in 2004 to coordinate relations with the European Union and NATO. EU flags were raised, together with the new Georgian national flag, in front of nearly all major government buildings to symbolize the country's determined aspiration.

Georgia was admitted into the European Neighbourhood Policy framework in June 2004. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan, itemizing priority areas and steps necessary to bring Georgia in line with European standards and values, was adopted in November 2006. The ENP Instrument Country Strategy for 2007-2013 and the ENPI National Indicative Program for 2007-2010 were elaborated in March 2007, lending additional substance to the Action Plan by giving it a budget line. Georgia will receive another 120 million in the mentioned period, with the possibility of increasing the sum and extending the coverage period.

The EU has provided financial aid to Georgia before: in the period of 1992-2004 the EU provided 420 million in assistance.

In terms of commitments, the EU and Georgia have expressed the willingness to launch negotiations on the free movement of goods and persons, notably by way of a visa facilitation agreement and the extension of the free trade area to Georgia.

The EU responded to the August events by deploying a monitoring mission of 200 monitors and about 100 supporting staff. Its objective is to monitor the removal of Russian troops from the 'buffer' zones that exist in Georgia proper, surrounding South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This mission is expected to cost 35 million.

October 2008

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