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Estonian-Georgian Relations


(last updated: 2.10.2017)
 

Georgia recognized the restored Republic of Estonia on 27 August 1991. Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Georgia were established on 17 June 1992.

On 21 October 2016 Estonian Ambassador to Georgia Kai Kaarelson presented her credentials to Georgian President Giorgi Margvelašvili. The Estonian Embassy in Tbilisi was opened in December of 2006. Georgia opened its embassy in Tallinn in April 2007. The Georgian Ambassador Tea Akhvlediani presented her credentials to President of the Republic Toomas Hendrik Ilves on April 24, 2014.

Relations with Georgia are a foreign policy priority for Estonia, and Estonia’s political support for the country has been consistent. Estonia supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and is contributing to rebuilding Georgia after the war.

As an EU member state, Estonia was in support of the Eastern Partnership initiative, which went underway in the first half of 2009 and gave Georgia additional integration opportunities with the EU. Within the framework of Eastern Partnership and the Association Agreement, Georgia has the opportunity to conclude a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the EU. Georgia is interested in Estonia’s expertise and experiences in both the free trade and agricultural realms.

Georgia-NATO relations began in 1992 when Georgia joined the North Atlantic Co-operation Council (now the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council), and from that point on Georgia has tied itself more and more closely to the alliance: in 1994 it joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme; in 2004 Georgia began to fulfil a NATO Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP); in 2008 the NATO-Georgia Commission was created. One important milestone in Georgia’s security policy aspirations was NATO’s Bucharest summit in April 2008, where in the final communiqué a clearly worded membership promise was achieved and Intensified Dialogues began with Georgia and Ukraine.

Georgia submitted its application for membership in the Council of Europe in 1996. Georgia joined the Council during Estonia's Presidency, on 27 April 1999.

Estonia has been prepared to share its reform experiences through development co-operation projects. Georgia has been and will remain in the near future the recipient of the largest portion of Estonia’s bilateral aid and one of the development co-operation priority countries, along with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Afghanistan. Many development co-operation projects have been carried out or are currently being carried out—some which can be highlighted are the training of Georgian police officers, state officials, young diplomats and college students, the reform of vocational education, and projects improving the administrative capabilities of the state. Estonia is prepared to introduce its experiences in the agricultural sector, which has low productivity in Georgia.

Visits

to Georgia

October- November 2017

President Kersti Kaljulaid together with business delegation

State Visit

April 2017

Foreign Minister Sven Mikser

March 2017

Chairman of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor

March 2017

Minister of Culture Indrek Saar

June 2016

Minister of Environment Marko Pomerants

May 2016

Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso

November 2015

Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand

September 2015

Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Riho Terras

June 2015

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves

January 2015

Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas

December 2014

Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus

June 2014

Minister of Defence Sven Mikser

July 2013

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet

September 2012

Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu

September 2012

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet

April 2012

Commander of the Estonian Defense Forces Riho Terras

January 2012

Riigikogu Speaker Ene Ergma

October 2011

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet

July 2011

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves

May 2011 

Minister of Social Affirs Hanno Pevkur

October 2010

Minister of Regional Affairs Siim Kiisler

September 2010

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet

November 2009

Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts together with business delegation

November 2009

Minister of Interior Marko Pomerants

June 2009

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet together with business delegation

August 2008

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet relief trip to Georgia

August 2008

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves relief trip to Georgia

February 2008

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip

January 2008

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves participated in the ceremony of President M. Saakashvili assuming office

October 2007

Defence Minister Jaak Aaviksoo

September 2007

Chairman of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma

May 2007

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves

to Estonia
September 2017Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze
May 2017Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili
February 2017State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze
January 2017Minister of Defence Levan Izoria
January 2016Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze
November 2015Minister of Culture Mikheil Giorgadze
November 2015Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili
September 2015Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli
May 2015Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani
April 2014President Giorgi Margvelashvili
January 2014Speaker of the Parliament David Usupashvili
September 2013Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili
September 2013Minister of the Interior Irakli Gharibashvili
July 2013Minister of Culture Guram Odisharia
May 2013Minister of Defence Irakli Alasania
January 2013Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze
November 2012Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili
October 2012Foreign Minister Gregory Vašadze
March 2012Foreign Minister Gregory Vašadze
August 2011Minister of Social Affirs Andria Urushadze
October 2010Minister of Education Dimitri Shashkini
September 2010Minister of the Interior Ivane Merabišvili
January 2010President Mikhail Saakashvili
September 2009Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri
August 2009Foreign Minister Gregory Vašadze
May 2009Minister of Economic Affairs and Development Laša Žvania
February 2009Speaker of the Parliament David Bakradze
October 2008Foreign Minister Eka Tkešelašvili
March 2008Prime Minister Vladimer Gurgenidze
March 2007State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze

 

Agreements

The agreement basis between Estonia and Georgia is as follows:

  • Protocol on Co-operation between the Foreign Ministries (signed 19 May 1994);
  • The Memorandum on Co-operation between the Foreign Ministries (signed on 5 Oct 2000);
  • Agreement on Co-operation in Culture, Education, Research, Youth Activities and Sports (came into force 21 Feb 2005);
  • Mutual Understanding Memorandum on Temporary Business Trip Rules for the Civil Security Advisor between the Ministry of Defence of Georgia and the Ministry of Defence of Estonia (came into force 16 Apr 2005);
  • Agreement on Customs Co-operation and Mutual Assistance (came into force 12.07.2005);
  • Agreement Allowing Georgian Government to Use Free of Charge the Estonian-made Computer-based Simulator System for Training Officials (came into force 09.09.2006);
  • Agreement for the Exchange and Mutual Protection of Classified Information (came into force 29.05.2007);
  • Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes in Income and on Capital (came into force 27.12.2007);
  • Agreement on Co-operation between the Interior Ministries (came into force 13.09.2010);
  • Agreement on Border Co-operation between the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia (came into force 14.02.2012);
  • Programme for Cultural Co-operation for 2012-2016 between the Estonian Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia;
  • Agreement on Co-operation in Tourism between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of Georgia (came into force in 2013)

Economic Relations

 

Despite the good political relations between Estonia and Georgia, economic relations have been quite modest. Estonia is interested in closer contacts with Georgia and in developing sales opportunities for Estonian goods in the Georgian market. As a country in the Baltic Sea economic region, Estonia is interested in transit-related co-operation with Georgia and providing services and know-how.

TRADE

 

Estonia-Georgia economic relations, which saw moderate growth after 2005, received a significant blow from the global economic crisis and events in August of 2008. The transitional period in internal politics following the parliamentary elections in 2012 and after the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU in June of 2014 new growth in entrepreneurial interest can be seen. 

 Estonian trade with Georgia 2010-2017 (1st 6 months) (in million euros)

 TurnoverExportImportBalance
20105.14.30.83.5
20114.63.51.12.4
20124.93.21.71.5
20135.94.41.52.9
20146.14.21.92.3
20156.54.12.41.7
20167.95.42.52.9
2017 (1st 6 mos)2.31.21.10.1

Source: Statistical Office

Main export articles in 2016 (% of total volume):

  • Animal products - 31%
  • Animal and vegetable fats - 22%
  • Other industrial products - 11%
  • Machinery and equipment - 9%

Main import articles in 2016 (% of total volume):

  • Food products and beverages (wines) - 66%
  • Vegetable products - 19%

INVESTMENTS

 

Estonia's direct investment position in Georgia in March of 2017 was 41,4 million euros (compared to 19,7 million euros as of 31.12.20152). 44% of direct investments are in real estate. Investments have also been made in wholesale and retail businesses, financial and insurance activities, health and social welfare.

Georgia's investment in Estonia have been very modest (1,8 million euros). The main sector is wholesale and retail trade (55%).

 

Development aid

 

Georgia has been a priority partner country for Estonia’s bilateral development co-operation since 2006 and will remain one in accordance with the Strategy for Estonian Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid 2016-2020. In 2016-2020 it is important to continue working in the areas where Estonia has already started co-operation with Georgia. The basis of co-operation in 2016-2018 is the Estonian development co-operation country strategy for Georgia, which reflects the needs and development strategies of Georgia and determines the development directions and areas where Estonia can offer added value.

Given the Strategy for Development Co-operation and the needs of Georgia, Estonia focuses on the following key areas when planning and implementing development co-operation in Georgia:

  • strengthening democratic state structures and systems;
  • supporting economic development;
  • improving the quality of education.

Over the period 2012 - 2015 Estonia's authorities committed 3,33 million euros supporting Georgia - 3,32 million euros for development co-operation and about 0,01 million euros as humanitarian aid. More than 45 development cooperation projects were implemented during this period.

Estonia also contributes financially to the European Union Neighbourhood Policy Investment Fund, the goal of which is to fund bigger infrastructure and environmental projects in neighbouring countries.

Since 2011 a new opportunity for sharing experiences has been the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership, which is geared towards supporting public administration reform projects in Eastern Partnership countries. The Centre provides scholarships to Georgian officials to study at the Estonian School of Diplomacy and organizes seminars for Eastern Partnership countries. 

Cultural Relations


Cultural relations have traditionally been active, a number of musicians from Estonia have performed in Georgia in recent years, and a number of exhibitions of Estonian artists have been organised. Georgian opera and ballet artists, as well as choirs, have visited Estonia. 

In March 2017 Programme of Cultural Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Estonia and the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia for 2017-2020 was signed between Indrek Saar, the Estonian Minister of Culture and Mikheil Giorgadze, the Georgian Minister of Culture and Monument Protection.

The 2013 joint Georgian-Estonian film "Tangerines" has been a success story in Georgia, Estonia and at international film festivals. The Estonian Foreign Ministry presented Zaza Urushadzele, the film's director and co-producer with a cultural award. In collaboration with Georgian embassies, there have been screenings of the film in several foreign countries. In November 2013, during the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Estonia presented copies of the movie to all the delegations present. Estonia presented "Tangerines" as its Oscar nominee in the Foreign Film Category.

Estonians in Georgia

 

Within the Georgian territory of Abkhazia are villages established in the 1880s by emigrants from Estonia. Best known are the villages of Ülem- and Alam-Linda, Salme, Sulev and Punase-Lageda. These settlements spurred the development of Estonian and Georgian consular relations during the pre-World War II period.

At the beginning of the 1920s, an Estonian consulate operated in Tbilisi and for a short period, vice consulates in Batum and Suchum. The consulates were closed down in 1923, because the Soviet government in Georgia withdrew its recognition of Estonian diplomats.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the situation in Abkhazia, where the Estonian villages are located, grew turbulent. Since 1992, about 500 people have been repatriated to Estonia. Solving the problems faced by the Estonians in Abkhazia is still an Estonian foreign policy issue in its relations with Georgia.

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