Germany promises €33.7m extra reconstruction aid to Georgia

The German government has promised more than €33 million to the Georgian government in addition to European Union money to help with reconstruction after the Russian invasion this summer.

Germany promises €33.7m extra reconstruction aid to Georgia

Gernot Erler, minister of state in the Foreign Office confirmed the sum at a donor conference in Brussels on Wednesday. The €33.7 million comes on top of €100 million which Germany has pledged within an EU framework of aid.

This makes Germany one of the most important EU donors, said Erler, adding that the government had pledged €35 million to Georgia before the conflict, bringing the total sum to nearly €170 million.

The donor conference includes 67 countries and financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – but not Russia.

Experts from the UN and World Bank have estimated that around €685 million is needed now to get the 64,000 internally-displaced people through the winter. A total of €2.4 billion will be needed to repair the damage done during the fighting, they said.

The EU has promised a total of €500 million by 2010, but individual countries including Germany, have attached conditions to this, saying reforms within Georgia must occur.

“It is particularly to do with the questions of independence of the judiciary, the rights of the opposition and also the freedom of the media,” said Erler.

The Berlin-based organisation Transparency International, which monitors corruption, warned that aid money could be diverted into “dark channels,” but said the German projects to rebuild houses and bridges were not endangered as they were administered by German bodies such as the Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).