Chronology of Diplomatic Relations
Diplomatic relations between Georgia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were established in 1919 and restored on 27 April 1992.
Fields of Cooperation
Georgia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland enjoy friendly relations and strategic partnership that date back to the First Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921). This friendship is significantly linked with the names Oliver and Marjory Wardrops. The UK’s first Chief Commissioner of Transcaucasus in Georgia, Oliver Wardrop, was especially fond of Georgia and Georgian culture. His sister Marjory translated several Georgian masterpieces of literature, including “The Knight in the Panther's Skin”.
The two countries enjoy multidimensional relations and successful cooperation in political, defense and security, trade and economy, culture, education and other fields.
High-level visits are often conducted at both legislative and executive levels. From 14 to 16 February 2021, UK Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Wendy Morton paid her visit to Georgia.
Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, Georgia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland signed the Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Agreement on 21 October 2019, which came into force from 1 January 2021.
18 Agreements are in force between Georgia and the UK, which cover a broad spectrum of cooperation.
Wardrop Strategic Dialogue
The launch of a new format of political dialogue in 2014 is yet another manifestation of strategic cooperation between the two countries. “Wardrop Dialogue” encompasses 4 dimensions (Political; Foreign Policy, Defense and Security; Commercial and Economic, People to People contacts) that targets a wide spectrum of bilateral issues. The plenary sessions of the Dialogue are held annually in Tbilisi or London traditionally followed by Joint Communique. From 2016, the format was upgraded to a substantially different level and was renamed “Wardrop Strategic Dialogue”. The parliamentary dimension of the Platform was launched in 2017. Seven rounds of the Wardrop Strategic Dialogue have so far been held. The last 7th plenary session took place on 9 September in a virtual format.
Cooperation between the legislative bodies of Georgia and the UK plays a significant role in bilateral relations. United Kingdom Parliamentary Friendship Group operates at the Georgian Parliament and the All Party Group on Georgia (APGG) led by Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) Jonathan Djanogly.
The launch of the parliamentary dimension of the Wardrop Dialogue gave a fresh impetus to cooperation between the legislative bodies of the two countries. Meetings under the parliamentary dimension acquired a regular character. The last meeting within the UK-Georgia Wardrop Strategic Dialogue's Parliamentary Dimension was held online on 21 September 2020, after which the sides released a joint communique.
As a gesture of the UK Parliament’s support for Georgia, the House of Commons released Early Day Motion on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Georgia’s independence, declaring unprecedented political support for Georgia.
Sectoral cooperation is dynamically ongoing between Georgia and the UK. Worthy of particular mention is productive relationship in the areas of defence and security. Cooperation in the field of defence covers participation of employees of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia in British educational programs and consultations to the Ministry of Defense of Georgia. The British side’s involvement in reforming Georgia’s crisis management sector is particularly noteworthy. In January 2016, the National Situation Room under Georgia's State Security and Crisis Management Council was opened with the support of the UK government and through participation of British experts. Based on the British model COBRA and adapted to the Georgian national specifics, the Situation Room is currently operating under the National Security Council. Special accent is placed on cybersecurity. British experts are engaged in the development of Georgia’s strategic documents and capacity building.
Georgian-British bilateral economic cooperation is very active. British companies in Georgia are operating in transport, telecommunications, construction, tourism, financial services and trading. The UK is amongst Georgia’s top investors.
British Council ensures the development of cultural and educational relations between the two countries. With the support of the British Government, Georgian students are granted Chevening Scholarships as an opportunity to study at the educational institutions of Great Britain. Since 1995, more than 200 students have benefited from the Chevening Scholarship. Moreover, from 2017 the John Smith Fellowship was renewed to the Georgian citizens. British-Georgian Society in London plays a major role in enhancement of Georgian-British links.
In 2019, the UK Season was successfully conducted in Georgia.
Bilateral cooperation is significantly developing between Georgia and the UK at the level of municipalities. Twin cities are as follows: Tbilisi and Bristol, Kutaisi and Newport, Akhaltsikhe and New Castle. 2018 marked the 30th Anniversary of twining between Tbilisi and Bristol, which was celebrated by exchange of visits on municipal level, as well as wide-ranging activities. Georgia’s Honorary Consulate to Bristol was launched and Derek Pickup officially entered upon the exercise of his functions as Honorary Consul.
The UK makes a considerable contribution to Georgia’s democratic transformation. Of paramount importance, in this light, is development cooperation, which is implemented by two funds: Good Governance Fund (GGF) and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF).
The aim of the GGF is to provide additional assistance to the countries aspiring to democratic development and Euro-Atlantic integration. The funding allocated by GGF to Georgia for 2020-2021 is worth £4.2 mln GBP.
The aim of CSSF is to carry out projects focused on reconciliation, peace-building and conflict transformation. The funding allocated by CSSF to Georgia for 2019-2020 is worth £1.6 mln GBP.