The Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit was held on December 15 in Brussels, where many important decisions were made in terms of aiding EaP countries.
EIB to Invest Euro34 million in Georgia to Deliver High-Speed Internet connections
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, October 17
The joint declaration that was adopted by the end of the summit voiced multiple directions of EaPs future agenda, including plans for future assistance. Amidst the global pandemic declaration states that the EU will continue to support partner countries in addressing the pandemic, the vaccination process, to fight against anti-vaccine disinformation and to foster longer term health resilience.
Over Euro2.5 billion has been mobilized through the rapid Team Europe support package since 2020 and 13 million vaccine doses were donated to partner countries via the COVAX Facility and through the EU Vaccine Sharing mechanism.
The EaP summit adopted a new agenda which will be underpinned by the Euro2.3 billion regional economic and investment plan with a potential to mobilize up to Euro17 billion in public and private investments for the region.
EIB President Werner Hoyer joined EU and Eastern Neighbourhood heads of state to pledge support for economic development and sustainable recovery in EaP countries.
Euro171 million of EU financing (EIB loans and EU grants) signed for strategic investments during the summit in Brussels underlined the EU commitment to sustainable and resilient socioeconomic growth in the region. As the EU bank, the EIB noted that it fully supports the EaPís agenda for recovery, resilience and reforms underpinned by the EU The EIB has provided Euro11 billion of financing to the EaP countries since the establishment of the partnership in 2009.
In parallel with the Summit, the EU signed a new agreement with Georgia, under which the European Investment Bank (EIB) will invest 34 million to expand the Internet network in Georgia.
This investment will provide fast and quality Internet access to more than 1,000 Georgian citizens living in more than 1,000 villages and settlements in Georgia. It envisages the laying of 5,000 km of fiber-optic cable and open access to the telecommunications infrastructure for telecommunications companies in Georgia, so that they can provide high-speed internet services to citizens.
According to the EU, this project will be one of the 5 leading initiatives for Georgia and will help the country reduce digital inequality and restore the economy after the pandemic.
The EaPprogram was approved in 2009 to bring Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia - as well as Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine - closer to the EU, but without a clear offer of future membership. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have since signed an association agreement with the EU, including free trade. These countries are united in an associated trio and demand deeper integration with Europe.