On 13 May, the European Union held a launch event in Georgia for EU4Digital, a new regional programme supporting the digital economy and society in Georgia and the other countries of the Eastern Partnership. The project is funded by the EU and will work in Georgia with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.
The programme aims to extend the benefits of the EU’s Digital Single Market to Georgia and other Eastern Partnership countries, channelling EU support to develop the potential of the digital economy and society, in order to bring economic growth, generate more jobs, improve people’s lives and help businesses.
In particular, through EU4Digital, the EU will support Georgia in reducing roaming tariffs, developing high-speed broadband to boost economies and expand e-services, harmonising digital frameworks across society in areas ranging from logistics to health, cyber security, and developing digital skills.
The programme was launched by Mr. Carlo Natale, Chargé d’affairs of the EU Delegation to Georgia, and Mr. Lashsa Mikava, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.
“The EU is very happy to be launching EU4Digital in Georgia. Strong digital infrastructure and frameworks are the way of the future, and through this support to the Government we hope to see not only a stronger digital economy, but also the boost it will give areas where Georgia has potential to grow such as business, entrepreneurship, tourism, ICT industry, or innovation. This support also ties into and complements the ongoing work of the Government’s Broadband Development Strategy,” noted Mr Natale.
“Integration into the EU Digital Single Market (DSM) is one of Georgia’s priorities. We are actively involved in the digital market harmonisation project and in the six thematic areas of EU4Digital. EU4Digital is a platform for exchanging best practices and experience between EU and partner countries. This process can have a synergistic effect in the digital sector and will identify common projects for supporting the harmonisation process,”said Mr. Lasha Mikava, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development.
Opening remarks were followed by a full presentation of the programme, and a panel discussion on how EU4Digital complements other digital initiatives in Georgia and the wider region.
EU4Digital was formally launched in 2019 on the regional level and will run until 2021. It has a total budget of €11 million for activities in the 6 Eastern Partnership countries, and will provide technical assistance in the following areas: Telecom rules, including independence of the national regulators, spectrum harmonization, broadband development and work towards the harmonization of roaming tariffs; eTrade including eCommerce, eCustoms and eLogistics; Digital Trust and Cyber security; Digital Skills; Digital Innovation and start-up ecosystems; and eHealth.
Photo: Mr. Lasha Mikava, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia at the launch event of the EU4Digital programme in Tbilisi on 13 May 2019