Gov’t’s annual report highlights European integration progress, reintegration policy, healthcare reforms

The Georgian PM will present his office’s annual report in the Parliament in late June. Photo: Government press office, 05 Jun 2023 - 12:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Government will on Monday submit a 164-page annual report on its work to the country’s legislative body, with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili scheduled to present it to the Parliament on June 30, Parliamentary officials confirmed earlier today. 

Drafted by the Government on its 2022 work, the report says the state authorities have “firmly followed” the country's democratic development agenda and, in the face of global challenges on the backdrop of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, adhered to a “peaceful and pragmatic policy”. 

The Government has claimed its efforts and proposed reforms are aimed at improving the quality of life of the country’s population and ensuring their well-being.

Another “milestone” for Georgia 

The report says last year’s move of the European Council to grant Georgia a European perspective marked “another milestone” in the country’s history and opened a way for Georgia’s eventual membership into the European Union. 

The consistent policy of the Georgian Government and related moves have upgraded the country’s relations with the bloc to a relatively new stage, which, in turn, will perform as a catalyst for the intensification of the pace of [domestic] reforms”, it notes. 

The Government also proceeded with the implementation of reforms outlined by the 2014 Georgia-EU Association Agreement, the document says while noting the EU-Georgia Association Council meeting last year approved the 2021-2027 agenda for the reforms, which it says is a framework for “greater rapprochement” with the bloc “in all priority sectors”. 

The Georgian Government says it expects the "well-deserved" European Union membership candidate status by the end of this year. Photo: EU in Georgia press office. 

Georgia’s relations with NATO, US “further strengthened” 

The Government says in the summary the country’s relations with NATO have “further strengthened on the background of increased geopolitical threats” sparked by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, pointing to the alliance’s Madrid Summit last year that approved a set of “tailored support” measures for the country. 

The measures are expected to further increase the country's defence capability and resilience”, it points out. 

The Government claims Georgia and the United States continue to be “reliable allies and strategic partners”, with Tbilisi maintaining “bipartisan support” in the US Congress. It also adds the domestic authorities have promoted increased US engagement in the Black Sea region. 

In a bid to further strengthen its self-defence capabilities, Georgia has launched the implementation of the Defence and Deterrence Enhancement Initiative signed with the US in 2021, with the proposal of the country’s new defence code last year also expected to benefit the goal, the report says. 

Government stance on peaceful resolution of conflicts “irreversible” 

In the document, the Government says its approach to resolve conflicts on its Russian-occupied regions peacefully remain “irreversible”. 

It also stresses the country’s foreign office and diplomatic representations have used “all measures” to exert pressure on Russia to meet the 2008 ceasefire deal it signed with Georgia and withdraw its troops from the country’s occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions. 

Human rights protection a “priority”, strengthening systems for combating crime

The report also highlights the Government approved the 2022-2030 Human Rights Protection Strategy that defines the country's long-term vision and specific goals for the provision, and “systematic protection” of fundamental human rights. 

It also points to a criminal police reform being implemented to ensure combating various crimes “more effectively”. 

The Government said it had ensured the country's progress on its Euro-Atlantic path. Photo: Government press office. 

Georgian economy “continues to grow” 

The country’s double-digit economic growth for second year running is also mentioned, with the ruling party crediting the advances with social improvements and “record low” unemployment and poverty levels.

It also says the growth proved “sustainable” into early 2023 according to preliminary estimates, with the average rate for the first quarter at 7.2 percent. 

The tourism sector has recovered “particularly quickly”, it adds, marking a 37.5 percent increase this year compared to pre-pandemic figures of 2019. 

Systemic healthcare reforms to “ease public’s financial burden” 

Systemic reforms” in the healthcare sector led to a 41 percent decrease in out-of-pocket payments for patients last year, the report claims. 

It notes the introduction of the Diagnosis-Related Group funding methodology made the system “more effective and based on the patients’ needs”. 

It also highlights the role of the start of imports of medical drugs from Turkey last year in a bid to affect a reduction of domestic prices on medication, and setting of reference prices for pharmaceutical products with the same goal, in forcing a reduction in prices for some medications by almost 40 percent. 

Large-scale education projects launched 

In the document, the Government notes its approval of the 2022-2030 National Strategy of Education and Science, and launch of the ₾1.3 billion ($487 million) programme for the construction and renovation of 885 kindergartens across the country. 

The start of the ₾1 billion ($375 million) programme for the construction and renovation of 800 schools across the country is also pointed out. 

Out of the projects, 133 public schools have already either been constructed or renovated, while works are underway on 53 public schools, it adds.