The opinion emphasises that the strengthening of local government in Georgia is a priority issue.. Investments in regional development and action to strengthen local government in Georgia with practical assistance from EU can also help promote European values and build up the Georgians' trust in the EU
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- considers that political stability, economic development and a high standard of living for the people of Georgia are of huge importance to the EU. However, building stronger mutual relations has become even more important in the context of the Black Sea Synergy programme;
- welcomes the signing of visa facilitation agreement with Georgia, as it is EU's message of openness to the Georgian citizens;
- urges the Georgian government to amend its legislation in line with the European Charter of Local Self-Government and to revamp its regional system of government, so that it can serve as a basis for development. It is particularly important to legally define the functions of the region as a territorial unit in Georgia and to establish the competences of regional authorities;
- calls for action enabling the participation of Georgian local and regional representatives alongside central government representatives as early as possible in work on the formulation of agreements, reports and action plans drawn up within the framework of EU-Georgia bilateral relations;
- proposes developing a truly territorial dimension for the Eastern Partnership and, accordingly, urges the EU Member States and its partner countries, including Georgia, to sign a multilateral agreement enabling the implementation of a European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) in the Eastern Partnership region, which includes Georgia. An EGTC can help strengthen cooperation and foster cross-border relations, the exchange of experiences as well as "people-to-people" contacts between local and regional authorities in Georgia and the EU Member States.