Association Council: European Union and Georgia share the same values
EU4Culture awards grants to three cities to promote cultural development in Georgia
On December 1 at 11:00 in Tbilisi, EU4Culture with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia will organize a press conference and an award ceremony to officially announce three selected cities that will receive EUR 30 000 grant to prepare the Cultural Development Strategies.
The call for grant applications was launched in May 2021. It aims to support non-capital cities and towns to develop and implement Cultural Development Strategies, following the approach of the European Capitals of Culture. Overall, 70 cities from 5 Eastern Partnership countries participated in the call. After evaluation of the submitted applications, the following 3 cities from Georgia were selected: Zugdidi, Kutaisi, Poti.
Selected cities will receive up to 30 000 EUR grants to develop the Cultural Development Strategies. The 6-month working period for preparing the document starts on December 1. At the final stage of the call, one town or city out of these 3 will be awarded a grant of up to €300,000 to implement its strategy.
Mr. Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Georgia; mayors of the three cities, project partners, EU4Culture project representatives will attend the event. The event will open with welcoming speeches and an award ceremony, where the mayors of the selected cities will officially receive grant certificates, followed by the Q&A session for the media.
EU4Culture is a four-year project funded by the European Union to support culture and creative sector with a special focus on non-capital cities and towns in the Eastern Partnership Countries. The project is implemented by the Goethe Institut (lead), Institut Francais Georgie, Danish Cultural Institute, Czech Centers.
EU Delegation to Georgia
European Union and Georgia hold their fourth Strategic Security Dialogue
The fourth high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue took place on 25 November 2021 in Brussels. The meeting reflected the commitment and interest of both the EU and Georgia to take forward their cooperation in the area of foreign and security policy, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
The participants discussed the conflict dynamics in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, including recent developments on the ground in relation with Russia, and stressed the importance of the implementation of the EU mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement. Both sides once again highlighted the important role of the EU Monitoring Mission for peace and security in Georgia, and underlined the necessity of full implementation of its mandate. The European Union reaffirmed its unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
They also discussed a number of topical foreign policy issues, including the state of affairs and increasing security challenges in the South Caucasus and the wider region.
The EU expressed appreciation for Georgia's continued and valuable contribution to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy, particularly through Georgia’s participation in EU-led crisis management operations and missions in the Central African Republic and the Republic of Mali. The participants also discussed avenues for increased cooperation in the field of security and defence, including in relation to addressing hybrid threats and increasing Georgia's capacities and resilience. The European Union commended Georgia’s role as a transit hub during the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The dialogue was co-chaired by Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs / Political Director of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora and First Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Lasha Darsalia. First Deputy Defence Minister of Georgia Lela Chikovani also participated in the meeting.
Deputy Secretary-General Mora said:
"The EU continues to remain strongly engaged in efforts to achieve peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia by using all instruments at its disposal. The EU also values the role of Georgia as an important partner in promoting security both regionally and internationally. The EU has a clear interest in a secure, stable and prosperous Georgia. We want to actively contribute to durable and comprehensive settlements of all conflicts in the region, including where possible through support for confidence-building, stabilisation, and post-conflict rehabilitation measures. The EU stands ready to provide further impetus for regional cooperation and economic development of the South Caucasus, including as appropriate through the opportunities available under the Eastern Partnership."
Deputy Foreign Minister Darsalia said:
“Georgia and the EU share a common goal of promoting security and stability in Europe and beyond. This interest has been manifested in the high-level Strategic Dialogue that Georgia and EU launched in 2017. Today’s meeting is yet another confirmation that EU and Georgia stand together to strengthen our resilience to hybrid threats and counter through joint efforts challenges such as cyber threats or disinformation. We have also had an exchange on new possibilities to upgrade our security cooperation. Georgia has reaffirmed its interest to engage in the EU PESCO projects. Georgia condemns continuous provocations in and around the occupied territories of Georgia. We updated the EU on the work of the Government Commission on the Georgia’s State Strategy for De-occupation and Peaceful Conflict Resolution. We raised the issue of “Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili” List and recalled the landmark judgement of the European Court of Human Rights. Georgia emphasizes the necessity of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict and, in this regard, underlined the importance of reaching tangible results in the Geneva International Discussions.”
The meetings of the high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue are held once a year and cover issues of common interest in the field of foreign and security policy, including the CSDP.
EU helped make three kindergartens in Rustavi energy efficient
Most buildings in Georgia fail to meet European energy efficiency standards. Energy-efficient reconstruction helps improve energy security, reduce energy consumption and avoid negative impacts on the environment. Even routine heating of buildings is otherwise quite a challenge and is associated with a number of problems.
In order to meet these challenges, three kindergartens in Rustavi, N6, N40 and N41, have been reconstructed to make the buildings energy efficient and compliant with modern standards. The projects were supported by the European Union, and halved electricity consumption in all three buildings and reduced carbon emissions.
The project started in 2015, and the situation in the kindergartens was really challenging: for example, nine natural gas heaters were used to heat the N6 kindergarten building, with eight heaters installed in playrooms and bedrooms, and one placed in the principal’s office. There was no hot water system, so the staff had to heat the water themselves.
The building rehabilitation included covering of the walls, roof, floor and basement with thermal insulation tiles, and installation of a new lighting system equipped with energy efficient bulbs. A new heating and hot water supply system was installed, supported by solar panels, and 8m₂ solar panels were mounted in each kindergarten. In view of the geographical location of Rustavi, a square meter of a solar panel can generate 1050 kWh of power per year.
Old, wooden window and doorframes were replaced with energy-efficient ones. The new low emission, double-glazed PVC windows prevent heat leakages from the building.
The project developers also equipped the buildings with modern ventilation systems to supply filtered, fresh air for better health of the kindergarten beneficiaries and staff.
The Sustainable Development and Policy Centre (SDAP) implemented the “Reconstruction of three kindergartens in the city of Rustavi for achieving high energy efficiency standard and reducing carbon emissions” with the support and funding of the European Union and the Municipality of Rustavi. This initiative is part of a demonstration project under the Covenant of Mayors.
Thus, the old Soviet infrastructure in Rustavi was replaced with modern energy efficient technologies, and the EU’s support has helped achieve the main goal of the project – to reduce heating and electricity costs for all three kindergartens, and to create a clean environment for children.
European Solidarity Corps: over €138 million to support volunteering activities by young people in 2022
The European Commission launched the call for proposals under the European Solidarity Corps for 2022, providing for the first time opportunities to contribute to humanitarian aid operations across the globe. This new strand of international projects is called the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps.
The call makes available almost €139 million to fund volunteering, youth-led solidarity projects, teams in high priority areas focussing on promoting healthy lifestyles and the preservation of cultural heritage, and the new European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps.
The European Solidarity Corps is open to young people between 18 and 30 for solidarity activities addressing societal challenges and between 18 and 35 for international humanitarian aid activities. Young people wishing to engage in European Solidarity Corps activities need to register in the European Solidarity Corps portal where they can browse and find organisations implementing projects. Groups of young people registered in the European Solidarity Corps Portal may also apply for funding for solidarity projects led by themselves.
Any public or private body may apply for funding to carry out activities under the European Solidarity Corps. Such organisations need to obtain a quality label, which certifies that they are able to carry out high quality solidarity activities in compliance with the principles, objectives and requirements of the programme. They can apply with the help of European Solidarity Corps National Agencies based in all EU Member States and third countries associated to the programme or of the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) for centralised actions.
The call is open until 23 February for projects taking place the same year, and until 4 October for the ones in the following year.
The European Solidarity Corps is an EU programme for young people wishing to engage in solidarity activities in a variety of areas ranging from helping disadvantaged people to contributing to health and environmental action, across the EU and beyond. The total budget of the European Solidarity Corps programme for 2021-2027 is €1 billion.
The material is prepared within the project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"
Charles Michel calls Azerbaijan and Armenia for urgent de-escalation and full ceasefire
On 16 November, President of the European Council Charles Michel called on Azerbaijan and Armenia for urgent de-escalation and full ceasefire following a new escalation of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh.
Michel had two separate phone calls with Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, and with President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.
“Challenging situation in region – EU is committed to work with partners to overcome tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus,” President Michel said on Twitter.