State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Sven Giegold held talks on economic and European policies in Tbilisi/Georgia from 20 to 21 June 2023. He was accompanied by a business delegation including in particular representatives of SMEs from the construction industry. Mr Giegold met with Georgia’s Minister of Economy and Deputy Prime Minister Levan Davitashvili, Chairman of the Georgian Parliament Shalva Papuashvili, further members of the government and representatives of business, civil society and the church. At the end of 2023, the Council of the EU will decide whether Georgia will gain the status of an EU accession candidate.
After the talks, Sven Giegold said:
“In Georgia I immediately felt like I was at home in Europe. The openness and friendly atmosphere during all my meetings is a proof of the good and deep relations between Georgia and Germany.
“Deepening the economic cooperation between Georgia and Germany offers great opportunities. The Caucasus region has a competitive advantage when it comes to generating renewable energy. We support the initiative to build a cable between Georgia and Romania as a future element of a strong Energy Union.
“Georgia’s citizens and enterprises could benefit from an accession to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and from low roaming fees for mobile data and telephone services. The number of direct flights at attractive times between Georgia and cities in the EU should be increased. Finally, both countries can benefit from a further expansion of regulated labour migration.
“Georgia would be able to benefit from more competition in a number of sectors. We have agreed with Minister of Economy Davitashvili to contact the cartel authorities of both countries with the aim to intensify cooperation. The German Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) has already signaled that it is in principle willing to deepen the cooperation.
“Georgia’s citizens deserve the prospect of an accession to the European Union. For this purpose, we need good news in terms of democracy and the rule of law from the government. In this context, anti-western public statements by members of the governing party are not helpful. The country rather needs to take convincing measures to strengthen the separation of powers, checks and balances as well as an independent judiciary. Signals to weaken the independence of the central bank are, however, a step in the wrong direction.”