Eastern Partnership to develop regional energy cooperation
‘Uphill, but an essential and a worthy battle’: Michel welcomes the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Assembly
Сivil society have played and is playing a crucial role in making progress in the critical areas of the Eastern Partnership, including political cooperation, economic recovery, and democratic reforms, said President Charles Michel addressing the participants of the Civil Society Assembly.
The 13th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF), ‘Road to recovery: fostering reform and resilience for a stronger Eastern Partnership’ is taking place from 30 November to 2 December bringing together online more than 300 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and decision-makers from the Eastern Partner countries and the EU.
We have advanced our partnership in spite of challenges ranging from economic crises to armed conflicts and the COVID pandemic,” said Charles Michel. “You must continue to step forward and make your voices heard.”
The President added that the EU will insist in tackling challenges facing the Eastern Partnership: “Strengthening democracy, fighting corruption, defending the rule of law, guaranteeing a free media, and countering disinformation – this is an uphill battle, but an essential and a worthy battle”.
The Assembly will prepare its recommendations in the run-up of the 6th Eastern Partnership Summit (15-16 December 2021).
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.
Team Europe: EU, France and the Czech Republic launch Project on Social Protection in Georgia
The European Union, France and the Czech Republic join forces to strengthen social protection system in Georgia. Signature event allowed the signing parties to start the project and show their common engagement in improving access to social protection and the extension of social rights and coverage of the Georgian population.
Tbilisi, 10 November 2021 – Today, a signature event took place at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Georgia to mark the beginning of the EU-project, implemented by Expertise France (Agence Française de Développement Group − AFD Group) and the Czech Development Agency (CzDA), with the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia (MoIDPHLSP).
Their Excellencies, Mr. Petr Mikyska, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia and Mr. Diego Colas, Ambassador of France to Georgia, and Mr. Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation attended the signature event. Ms. Tamila Barkalaia, Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia presented her ministry’s perspective, followed by with a short presentation of the project.
“Social protection goes back to the core values of the European Union. In a democracy, it is all of our responsibility to take care of the most vulnerable members of society to make sure that everyone can be part of social life and the democratic process. This is especially relevant in times of COVID-19, where many people need additional support and protection. We are, therefore, proud to launch this new project together with our Team Europe partners and look forward to many positive steps over the coming years”, stated Mr. Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.
Mr. Colas, Ambassador of France to Georgia, stated that “there is a global alliance between the French and Czech Development Agencies and I am very happy that this finds an application here in Georgia. We strongly support the choice of the Georgian people and of successive governments to build a strong, dynamic, European democracy in Georgia and it makes sense to do this with another dynamic successful Eastern European democracy such as the Czech Republic. The implementation of this joint project, to strengthen the delivery of social services and work towards the social code, will be a key aspect of this broader democracy and institution building agenda”,.
“Development of the Social Code is a key reform that will direct Georgia towards establishment of effective social welfare management system, including decentralization of provision of social protection. Czech Development Agency is happy to join the forces with Expertise France and move a long-term successful partnership with the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia to a new level.”, said Mr. Mikyska, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia.
“By elaborating the Social Code, we aim at creating broader perspective of social welfare. Our goal is to guarantee that Georgian citizens are protected from social risks from childhood to old age. Therefore, relevant healthcare and social protection systems and mechanisms need to be developed. This will be a big step forward towards European and international Standards“, stated Ms. Barkalaia, Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs.
About the project
The project Strengthening Social Protection in Georgia aims at supporting the Government of Georgia and state organizations in improving social services, evidence-based policy making and extending social protection rights. The project will last 24 months with implementing partners Expertise France and Czech Development Agency.
The project will focus on three components. The first component will improve access and delivery of social services and remittances from Social Service Agency (SSA) and at local level. The second component of the project will support better analysis of information and the creation of communication materials around social rights and promotion of social work. The third component will support the Ministry in the elaboration of the social code in extending social rights in Georgia through a collaborative and inclusive process, following evidence-based policy and legislation proposals.
The project is now officially launched and is in its inception phase. The first action of the project will be to identify key policies and strategies for improving delivery and access to social protection services in Georgia.