At the end of November, European Union (EU) transferred €100 million (approx. GEL 400 million) in macro-financial assistance to Georgia to assist the Government to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a part of an unprecedented GEL 1.5 billion COVID-19 support package the EU has mobilized for Georgia since March 2020,” the EU Delegation to Georgia said.
EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell noted that the money EU support could be roughly broken down into four areas.
“The EU and Team Europe have mobilised 1.5 billion GEL of assistance to help Georgia deal with the pandemic. Almost 2/3 of this amount comes in the form of grants, or gifts if you like, and the remaining are loans at the best rates we could secure.
I’m proud to say that this is one of the highest levels of EU assistance per capita to any country in the world and it should be seen as a demonstration of the EU’s strong solidarity with Georgia at this time of crisis.
Well over half of the money is directed at strengthening the Georgian government’s anti-COVID-19 efforts, including to implement the Anti-Crisis Economic Plan and ensure the government has enough financial means to function properly. Most of the €100-million loan we recently transferred to Georgia is for this purpose.
Secondly, EU support is also directly going to strengthening the Georgian health system by providing medical equipment like ventilators, masks and training to medical personnel.
And thirdly, we are paying particular attention to vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, IDPs or victims of domestic violence, who are especially negatively affected by the current crisis. In this field, we support civil society organisations to provide direct support to each of these groups.
Finally, special efforts are made to support economic sustainability and recovery, which will remain a key challenge for a long time. Here, we have allocated almost GEL 250 million to provide easier access to loans for businesses, grants to agriculture, rural development, tourism and vocational education all over Georgia,” Hartzell stated.
EU Ambassador added that the implementation of this program will be monitored.
“We are working together with the IMF, we are working with NGOs, and we are working with the State Audit Office here in Georgia to make sure that the proper monitoring is being carried out,” Hartzell noted.
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