EU will unlock €2 billion investments in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

The EU will provide Small and Medium Enterprises in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine with €200 million worth of grants over the next 10 years., 21 May 2015 - 15:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Union (EU) is expected to distribute new investments of more than €2 billion (5.3 billion GEL) for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

At the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Business Forum in Riga today, the European Commission launched the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Facility for SMEs, which will provide some €200 million (530 million GEL) worth of grants from the EU budget over the next 10 years.

This contribution is expected to unlock new investments worth at least €2 billion for SMEs in the three DCFTA countries - Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The financial means for the investments will largely come from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

"The European Commission promised concrete steps to boost trade and the exchange between the European Union and our Eastern partners. Today we are delivering,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

"The Association Agreements and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas work. They are the right avenue for bringing the economies of Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine closer to the EU and to our internal market,” he said.

The European Commission official noted the €2 billion was an investment to make these economies more competitive and an investment into local companies that would create more jobs for the population.

"They are a sign of the EU's strong commitment to further deepen our cooperation with our Eastern partners,” he said.

European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn stressed the importance of small businesses for modern economies, saying they were the "main drivers” for growth and jobs.

"The new Facility will give tangible support to businesses in Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, unlocking their potential, helping them realise the benefits of the Association Agreements and reach new markets. This is a concrete example of the EU's commitment to Eastern Partnership and of our determination to build closer economic relations with the partner countries,” he noted.

The EaP Business Forum was held today within the 4th EaP Summit, that’s currently taking place in Riga, Latvia.