The EU will provide EUR 18 million for a new, three-year programme to help Georgia in its criminal justice reform, aimed at strengthening the rule of law and human rights in the country, European Commission said in a press release on February 29.
The new programme is a follow up to EU’s previous support to the criminal justice system in frames of which EUR 16 million has already been granted to Georgia since 2008.
“Georgia has made significant progress in reforming its Criminal Justice System in the recent years,” Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, said.
“This new programme aims to build on what Georgia has achieved so far with our support; helping to reduce the prison population and further increase human rights. I am pleased to see that it will also cut down the number of long prison sentences for young people who committed minor crimes, offering them instead alternatives such as community service, vocational training or education," he added.
Commissioner Füle signed a financing agreement for a new programme with Georgia’s deputy PM and State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze in Brussels on February 29.
During the meeting Commissioner Füle and Georgian Deputy PM also discussed EU-Georgia relations, ongoing reforms, as well as talks over Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).
EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht was in Tbilisi on February 28 to open DCFTA negotiations.
Georgia’s PM Nika Gilauri said after meeting with the EU Trade Commissioner, that multiple rounds of DCFTA negotiations would be held in next 18-24 months. He also said that the Georgian government established 60-member team working on the issue.