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.
|March 2019||Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces Martin Herem|
|September 2018||President Kersti Kaljulaid|
|July 2018||Minister of Public Administration Janek Mäggi|
|May 2018||President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor|
|February 2018||Minister of Defence Jüri Luik|
|November 2017||President Kersti Kaljulaid|
|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|
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||President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma|
|May 2007||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|May 2019||President Salome Zourabichvili|
|December 2018||Speaker of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze|
|June 2018||President Giorgi Margvelashvili|
|September 2017||Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze|
|May 2017||Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili|
|February 2017||State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze|
|January 2017||Minister of Defence Levan Izoria|
|January 2016||Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze|
|November 2015||Minister of Culture Mikheil Giorgadze|
|November 2015||Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili|
|September 2015||Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli|
|May 2015||Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani|
|April 2014||President Giorgi Margvelashvili|
|January 2014||Speaker of the Parliament David Usupashvili|
|September 2013||Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili|
|September 2013||Minister of the Interior Irakli Gharibashvili|
|July 2013||Minister of Culture Guram Odisharia|
|May 2013||Minister of Defence Irakli Alasania|
|January 2013||Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze|
|November 2012||Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili|
|October 2012||Foreign Minister Gregory Vašadze|
|March 2012||Foreign Minister Gregory Vašadze|
|August 2011||Minister of Social Affirs Andria Urushadze|
|October 2010||Minister of Education Dimitri Shashkini|
|September 2010||Minister of the Interior Ivane Merabišvili|
|January 2010||President Mikhail Saakashvili|
|September 2009||Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri|
|August 2009||Foreign Minister Gregory Vašadze|
|May 2009||Minister of Economic Affairs and Development Laša Žvania|
|February 2009||Speaker of the Parliament David Bakradze|
|October 2008||Foreign Minister Eka Tkešelašvili|
|March 2008||Prime Minister Vladimer Gurgenidze|
|March 2007||State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze|
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)
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.
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 2010-2018 (in million euros)
Source: Statistical Office
Main export articles in 2016 (% of total volume):
- Other industrial products - 21%
- Transport equipment - 18%
- Wood products - 11%
Main import articles in 2017 (% of total volume):
- Food products and beverages (wines) - 74%
- Vegetable products - 18%
Estonia's direct investment position in Georgia in June of 2018 was 53 million euros. 39% 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 (2,2 million euros). The main sector is wholesale and retail trade (45%).
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 2019-2020 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 - 2018 Estonia's authorities committed 6,2 million euros supporting Georgia. 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 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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