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Senior EU Official Says ‘Clear Progress’ in Reforms Needed

Director for the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Institution Building at the European Commission, Lawrence Meredith said today it is essential that EU support for investments in Georgia is “accompanied by clear progress in the fields of judicial reform, public administration reform and ensuring democracy and human rights.”

The European Commission representative is visiting Georgia alongside European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) officials to launch five flagship projects of the EU’s new Economic and Investment Plan for Georgia.

He said in a press briefing at the EU Embassy in Tbilisi that governance reforms are necessary “not only to advance Georgia’s democratic agenda but also to ensure sustainable economic development, set a level playing field, attract investors and bring benefits to all citizens of Georgia.”

There are two pillars to the support of the European Union – investments and reforms in the areas of governance, the senior EU official stressed. 

As for the projects, he said two are concerned with the Black Sea connectivity, improving both transport and digital connections. Another initiative, the official said, aims to assist 80,000 small and medium enterprises in making full use of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. The two other projects seek to support 1,000 rural communities’ access to high-speed internet and help improve air quality for over a million citizens in Georgia.

The visit is a follow-up to the July trip of the European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi to Georgia, that presented the Economic and Investment Plan for the Eastern Partnership.

This article was updated.

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