Armenia-Georgia cross-border cooperation projects present results
The results of nine Armenian-Georgian cross-border projects have been presented in a brochure entitled “Bridging people and countries”, to mark the upcoming end of the EU-funded Armenia–Georgia Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation (EaP TC) programme. Through the programme, schoolchildren from Armenia and Georgia had unique intercultural experiences at summer camps, local businesses found new partners across the border and local family-run farms learnt and applied new energy-saving technologies. These are just a few examples of the results described in the brochure, which explains how the cross-border cooperation programme offered Armenian and Georgian partners the chance to learn from each other while working together. The brochure provides information about the grant projects, including their main partners, activities, most significant results and lessons learnt, as well as the key cross-border impacts achieved. According to the EaP TC programme, Armenian–Georgian cooperation within the programme has significantly improved mutual understanding by involving local communities of the border regions in a multi-cultural dialogue, as well as breaking stereotypes and building trust amongst the neighbouring communities. It has also helped foster reliable business relations and promote sustainable regional development.
EU IS THE MAIN DONOR FOR THE CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE EASTERN PARTNER COUNTRIES
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference along with the 9th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum will take place on 25-27 October, 2017 in Tallinn under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The three-day event, entitled "Tangible Results for People: Envisioning the Eastern Partnership in 2020 and Beyond," will focus on the future of the Eastern Partnership policy and on civil society's contribution to better governance in these countries.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said: "Civil society representatives are the best sponsors and monitors of much-needed reforms in the Eastern Partnership countries. They are voices against corruption and for transparency and an essential force in our daily work on so many issues, from fighting violence against women, to improving the media environment. We are partners, and we need each other to reach our common goals and to make the Eastern Partnership deliver."
The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, stressed: “We are delivering on our promise to follow social innovation trends in our broadened support to civil society. Partnerships with key civil society actors, strong leadership and more efficient tools to advance the governance role of civil society organisations are all part our revamped toolbox. Together with partner governments, civil society in the Eastern partner countries will bring us closer to citizens in areas that make most difference for their lives.”
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee Co-chair Hennadiy Maksak said: “Civil society believes in the European future of the Eastern partner countries, based on shared values, rule of law and respect for democratic principles and public accountability. It is of crucial importance to create an enabling environment for the civil society, allowing it to engage in the reform agenda.”
The conference will serve as a platform for participants to discuss better governance, dialogue between governments and civil society, the use of technology to promote government transparency, and inclusive approaches to economic development. Discussions will also focus on civil society's role in combating disinformation and developing media competence.
The participants will adopt a Civil Society Declaration identifying major obstacles to further democratic development offering specific recommendations on how governments and civil society organisations can work together to overcome them.
The European Union's support to civil society has been instrumental in increasing public accountability, respect of human rights, and local development in Eastern partner countries. From 2014 to 2016, the European Union has funded more than 260 new projects across the region, reaching more than 600 organisations.
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference is organised by the Estonian presidency, Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership and the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, a regional civil society platform aimed at promoting European integration and facilitating reforms and democratic transformations across the region.
The event is held every two years as a side event to the Eastern Partnership Summit, which this year will take place on November 24 in Brussels.
EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme
The programme is part of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme II, funded under the European Neighbourhood Instrument. It aims to support the cultural and creative sectors’ contribution to sustainable humanitarian, social and economic development in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The programme aims to:
strengthen national cultural policies, as well as the capacities of the culture and creative sectors, and of culture operators in partner countries;
increase the links between public institutions and private actors in the field of culture and creativity;
include civil society in the decision making process, thus enhancing the role of culture as a driving-force for reform;
support the participation of partner countries in international cultural initiatives.
ACTIONS IN BRIEF
Marie Lou Papazian, head of the Armenian TUMO Centre
for Creative Technologies. Full story
Actions are carried out under four main components – research and informing policy, capacity building, network building between culture practitioners from the European Union and the Eastern Partner countries, and communicating the role of the culture and creative industries. These include:
Development of UN national statistics on culture in Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan
Research papers on developing creative industries, on cultural heritage, on performing arts models, and on film industry development
Cultural mapping model developed for small towns and six pilot reports
Six national forums:
Business Skills for the Cultural Sector (Armenia)
Creative Industries Development (Azerbaijan)
IT and Culture Collaboration (Belarus)
Launch of the Creative Georgia Initiative
Creative Cities Development (Moldova)
Incorporating design models into industrial practice (Ukraine)
Support for policy development initiatives
Developing partnerships between EU and Eastern Partnership cultural organisations
Creation of a network of 260 mid-career cultural managers
Capacity building of journalists in cultural journalism
Development of on-line courses for cultural managers
Workshops on the Creative Europe programme and consultations with organisations applying for funding
Development of website and social media platforms, highlighting trends in the culture and creative industries sector
Translation of key manuals and reference documents on modern practice in the cultural sector in Europe into regional languages
President Margvelashvili Meets with Ambassadors at Large for the Eastern Partnership
The President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili has held a meeting with the Ambassadors at Large for the Eastern Partnership and provided visitors with a detailed information about the illegal actions and the creeping occupation, carried out by the Russian Federation on a daily basis.
President Margvelashvili has spoken about the situation in the occupied territories of Georgia and pointed out that it is extremely important Georgia’s partners and the international community to once again strongly condemn these actions and state their position against the occupation.
The conversation has also touched upon the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit, Georgia's European integration process and the future steps that the country should take in this direction.
President Margvelashvili has also discussed the current internal processes in Georgia and the constitutional reform. It has once again been highlighted that the parties must achieve a consensus.
The meeting has also been attended by the Head of the Administration of the President of Georgia, Mr. Giorgi Abashishvili, the Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia, Mr. Davit Rakviashvili, the Advisor to the President of Georgia for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tengiz Pkhaladze and the Political Secretary of the President of Georgia, Ms. Pikria Chikhradze.
Mikheil Janelidze has spoken before the participants of the reception organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation
Mikheil Janelidze highlighted the successful reforms of Georgia as a member of Eastern Partnership on its path of European integration – the reforms which have transformed the country into into a democracy with open and growing economy and favorable investment climate.
Mikheil Janelidze spoke extensively about the opportunities offered by the DCFTA and the importance of granting Georgia the opportunity to travel to Europe visa-free.
According to the Minister, Georgia is today entering a new stage on a road towards ultimate integration into the EU and is strongly committed to full and effective implementation of the Association Agreement to ensure further legislative and institutional approximation. At the same time, Georgia going to enhance Georgia’s involvement in the EU specialized agencies and programmes; deepen sectorial cooperation; expand interconnections; as well as intensify cooperation in the field of security and defence.
“We have a clear vision and a plan to make this vision a reality. Our aim is to reach the level of integration where we would be able to say that this is really ‘everything but institutions’ leaving a political decision on membership open” – the Minister said.
The office of Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Georgia will conduct conference: „Eastern Partnership – Together Towards Tomorrow“ on 23 and 24 June.
The conference will bring together up to one hundred representatives of the Eastern Partnership Member States, experts and member of academic communities, high-ranking officials, representatives of the public, private and civil sectors. The main focus of the conference will be on the development of democracy, security and economic policies of the Eastern Partnership countries.
Improved transport links and people-to-people contact to become focus for Eastern Partnership countries
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Visegrad Group (V4) and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries met on April 12 in Warsaw. V4 Ministers reaffirmed their strong support for the Eastern Partnership as a strategic dimension of European Neighborhood Policy and a key and active factor of stability and economic progress in Eastern Europe.
The discussion was focused on development of transport and infrastructure links between the EU and EaP countries. Better connections shall contribute not only to strengthening economic cooperation and people-to-people contact, but also to reinforcing political ties.
“The removal of transport and infrastructure barriers between the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Union complements the process of bringing these countries closer to the EU, resulting from the implementation of association agreements, trade agreements and progressive visa liberalisation,” said the Head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
V4 Ministers welcomed visa liberalisation for Georgian citizens and expressed hope that Ukraine citizens would enjoy visa-free travel to the EU as soon as possible. Existing visa-free travel for Moldovan citizens has proved that it brings tangible results for citizens.
Ministers recognised the wish of Armenia and Azerbaijan to continue visa liberalisation dialogue and expect further steps in that direction. They also expressed their hope for relaunching negotiations and finalising the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreement with Belarus, and welcomed the signing by Belarus of the Mobility Partnership with the EU.