Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia:

"Today we are signing a milestone Financial Agreement between Georgia and European Investment Bank (EIB) on the allocation of a loan in the volume of 250 million Euros.

It is a very important financial support to our country enabling an active development of vital infrastructure projects.

We highly appreciate cooperation with EIB. It is one of the most significant partners of Georgia and we share an outstanding track record of cooperation. Financial support of the European Union (EU) has already played a considerable role in the development of our infrastructure through the EIB. Investments made by the EIB in the recent years are particularly important for the development of a transport corridor in Georgia. I also wish to note the financial contribution of EIB in the advancement of transport communication, road and water infrastructure.

Financial resources in the volume of 250 million Euros as allocated by the EIB will be aimed at the implementation of specific projects, like construction and rehabilitation of Rustavi-Red Bridge and Rustavi-Sadakhlo fragments of the highway. You may well be aware that referred roads are significant segments of the road and transport backbone of Georgia. They lead to the increased competitiveness of the country and enhanced transit role played by Georgia.

We also welcome the decision made by EIB towards augmenting its operation and volume of engagement in the private sector to develop the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

I requested the representatives of EIB at a meeting today to let us gain more access to the so called funding programs of technologies and innovations. Most important priority of my Government is the reform of education sector. Hence, development of projects associated with it is high in our agenda, along with the advancement of conventional infrastructure. I am confident that through the engagement of EIB in this area we will be able to attract more European companies.

At the same time, we are considering creation of new financing mechanisms that will help us in boosting foreign direct investments (FDI) in Georgia. I hope that EIB will continue to support current reforms in the country that are aimed at the rapid economic development, inclusive growth, creation of jobs, improvement of living standards and what is most important for all of us - elimination of poverty.

I wish to use this opportunity and express my enormous gratitude to the management of EIB. I particularly wish to thank Vazil Hudak a very good friend of Georgia for this significant support demonstrated by EIB towards Georgia. Agreement signed today is yet another very clear evidence of the most productive cooperation of Georgia and EIB."

Vazil Hudak, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank:

"Prime Minister, thank you for inviting me to Georgia. It is always a great pleasure to be here as I see that the country is developing in a dynamic manner and thus projects itself as a leader in the region.

EIB is a financial wing of the EU and our performance evidences that Georgia is part of a wider European space. Allocation of 250 million Euros for the construction of new roads and rehabilitation of existing ones for the extension of the European transport network implies the development of East-West Highway. It will bring Georgia closer to Europe. It will let the country benefit of its significant geographic location and potential to connect Europe and Asia. We are delighted to support the development of most significant infrastructure, such as roads and railway.

We wish to focus more on the software development. Prime Minister has noted that technologies and innovations are a key priority of the Government of Georgia. Country has a huge potential towards this end in terms of human capital, history, geographic location and by being an innovative leader in the region.

Hence, we are happily engaging in this initiative and will support more innovations in Georgia. We will facilitate investment and engagement of EU companies in the economic development of Georgia, closer interaction of EU and Georgia.

I wish to use this opportunity and thank the team contributing to the Agreement concluded today: Maya Tskitishvili, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia. Her organization is a beneficiary of our institutional support and we appreciate this cooperation. We closely cooperate with the Ministry of Finance as well. I wish to thank Ivane Matchavariani for being a very good partner.

I thank them all for their cooperation and note that a loan in the volume of 250 million Euros is a support component within a very significant package - 6.1 billion Euros, which was approved by the decision of the European Commission. For this I wish to greatly thank the EU Ambassador.""

Carl Hertzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia:

"EU is a partner of Georgia and financial resources allocated by the EIB will be used to advance a 100 kilometer-long section of the East-West Highway. It is a very important segment of the road infrastructure backbone of the country. It means that roads will be developed with 100 more kilometers in the country and transportation will become safer. It will facilitate the crystallization of a strategic function of Georgia as a transit hub of the region. It also means that new jobs will be created in the construction sector. We already noted that 6.1 million Euros will be allocated as a grant financing for the technical assistance to stimulate new investments, build the capacity of the Roads Department in implementing more wide-scale projects in the country. Thus we will greatly contribute to the safety of passenger and cargo transportation through roads in Georgia.

I wish to congratulate you all with the signing of the Agreement today and look forward to our future cooperation."