Georgian Prime Minister’s Speech at Global Gateway Forum 2023

Dear Heads of States and Governments,



Dear Friends,

It is a great honor and pleasure to address the Global Gateway Forum on behalf of the Georgian Government. I would like to thank President von der Leyen for hosting us today in Brussels.

In December 2021, when the Global Gateway initiative was introduced, the European Union invited partners to focus on sustainable development by improving transport and energy infrastructure, to reinforce health and education systems and to promote digital advancement.

Being at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia’s strategic geographic location has been one of its strongest assets. Therefore, we have made enhanced connectivity as a priority of our domestic agenda and have been working with our international partners and international financial institutions (IFI) to transform our country into a regional transport, logistics and digital hub.

Although Georgia has no land border with the EU, we have yet untapped opportunities across the Black Sea that will firmly anchor us with the EU and allow us to utilize the full potential of integration into the EU Single Market.

Given the ever-growing importance of diversifying and expanding East-West trade, the Middle Corridor across Georgia is becoming a viable alternative to existing routes connecting Europe and Asia. With enhanced infrastructure capabilities, streamlined processes and competitive costs, the importance of this corridor is growing.

To support Georgia’s position as a regional center for trade and logistics, my Government focuses heavily on development of major infrastructure. In recent years, significant investments were made to upgrade the country’s roads, railways and airports, as well as to develop new transport infrastructure projects.

These include the Black Sea Submarine Electricity Cable project, which will create transit opportunities and back-to-back trade options of green renewable energy between the EU and the South Caucasus via Georgia, while improved ferry-feeder connections in the Black Sea will enhance international transit through the Middle Corridor.

The development of a new Anaklia Deep Sea Port will increase Georgia’s capabilities to ship large quantities of cargoes. Furthermore, an underwater fiber-optic cable in the Black Sea will ensure fast internet connectivity from South-East Europe to South Caucasus delivering faster and more reliable internet connections to our people.

In order to increase the transit potential of Georgia, the capacity of national railways will increase twice in volume by the end of 2024, along with planned improvements to major highways and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.

My government is enhancing air connectivity through the construction of a new international airport in Tbilisi as well, which will function as a top-tier transportation hub, solidifying Georgia’s position as a significant participant in the global aviation sector.

Acknowledging the growing energy demand and the urgency of addressing climate change, we are proactively exploring new initiatives within the renewable energy sector. These include hydropower, wind, solar, and other sustainable sources.

As you know, key pipelines across Georgia, including oil and gas pipelines, ensure secure transportation of hydrocarbons from Central Asia to Europe.

All of these transformational projects will bring jobs, economic growth, and prosperity to our people and the region at large.

The role of our development partners in implementation of the aforementioned projects is paramount, of course. Among others, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is one of the leading financial institutions, which supports Georgia and aligns with our priorities. Since start of operations, the EIB has provided a significant amount of loans and to be more precise more than 2 billion Euros in our country.

Regardless of complex security challenges and issues, the ongoing occupation of our [Georgia’s] territories by Russia, other regional and global issues and challenges, which create instability and a challenge for Georgia as well, but thanks to our pragmatic foreign and economic policies, our Government has managed to secure an uninterrupted peace and stability. We maintained a decade of uninterrupted peace in Georgia and also ensured strong economic growth.

Georgia has experienced double-digit economic growth for two consecutive years, with a GDP growth rate of over 10 percent in 2021 and 2022. This positive-growth trend has continued in 2023, with an average economic growth of 7 percent, with a very low inflation below 1 percent. According to IMF projections, Georgia is expected to maintain its position as one of the fastest-growing economies.

Georgia’s record of prudent macroeconomic decisions and structural reforms continue to drive our strong economic performance. It is not coincidence that Georgia’s legal, business and investment environment has been highly commended in international rankings by various international rating institutions. I want to mention some of them:

The World Justice Project’s 2023 Rule of Law Index places Georgia as the top ranking country in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions regarding the rule of law. Georgia is the top-ranked nation for state budget transparency according to the Open Budget Survey. In the World Economic Forum’s “Global Competitiveness Report,” Georgia has outpaced many EU and NATO countries. According to the Fraser Institute’s report – Economic Freedom of the World 2023, Georgia is among the top 25 countries with the freest economies.

Each step we take aims at transforming, modernizing and developing our country and bringing Georgia back into the European family where it belongs. I want to take this opportunity and talk about Georgia’s progress on the EU-integration path. The remarkable achievements of our Government, including the EU Association Agreement, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and the Visa-Free regime with the European Union demonstrate our geopolitical priority to become an EU Member State. The recognition of Georgia’s European Perspective last June has unlocked a new chapter in our relationship with the EU. Recent surveys show nearly 90 percent of Georgians support the EU membership.

Importantly, Dear Friends, we have demonstrated unwavering commitment to address 12 priorities set forth for the EU Candidate Status. Through a rigorous, inclusive, and transparent implementation process, we made strong progress in completing them. We have taken a good note of all suggestions received from our European partners for the past few months and have made strong progress.

Therefore, Georgian people anticipate that Georgia’s performance and the current geopolitical context in the region will be fairly evaluated. With perseverance, dedication and a well-crafted plan to realize our nation’s civilizational destiny of joining the EU family, we look forward to attaining the Candidate Status.

It is evident that Georgia’s journey towards the European integration and strengthening of our global partnerships is marked by unwavering commitment and resilience. Despite challenges we face, we remain determined in our choice to align with the European Union and its values. Our commitment to a path of democracy, rule of law and transparency remains resolute. Georgia, as a European nation and a natural, global gateway stands ready to strengthen the European Union and to contribute to its better future.

Thank you very much!