EU Spokesperson: “The latest developments in relations between the Russian Federation and Georgia risk having a negative impact on the citizens of both countries”
On 3 July, the EU Spokesperson issued a statement in response to the latest developments in relations between the Russian Federation and Georgia.
“The latest developments in relations between the Russian Federation and Georgia risk having a negative impact on the citizens of both countries,” said the Spokesperson. “We consider the Russian decision to ban flights to Georgia as of 8 July unjustified and disproportionate.”
The spokesperson added that the restrictions imposed on the two crossing points at the Abkhaz Administrative Boundary Line as of 27 June severely affect freedom of movement and cause further difficulties for the population affected by the conflict. “They need to be lifted to avoid further humanitarian hardship,” she added. “The round of the Geneva International Discussions that started today should be used effectively to lower tensions and to alleviate the situation of the affected population.”
In conclusion, the EU spokesperson underlined that the EU's commitment to peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia “remains as strong as ever”.
“The European Union reiterates its firm support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders,” the statement concluded.
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the 48th round of the Geneva International Discussions
The 48th round of the Geneva International Discussions was held on 2-3 July 2019. During the negotiations, imposition by the Russian Federation of the restrictive measures on Georgia and the severe consequences of the closure of the occupation line in Abkhazian region were raised with particular emphasis. The Georgian participants underlined the extreme necessity of de-escalation of the situation in this exacerbated context.
Throughout the negotiations, the representatives of Georgia extensively discussed the security and humanitarian challenges in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as well as in the areas adjacent to the occupation line, which is a grave result of Russia's illegal occupation and steps towards de-facto annexation.
The Georgian participants raised the issue of Russia’s illegal military build-up and intensified military exercises in the occupied regions. They called upon the Russian Federation to fulfill the obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and withdraw its occupation forces from Georgia’s territory.
Special emphasis was placed on the severe humanitarian impact of the closure of so-called crossing points in Abkhazia region. The Co-Chairs, Co-Moderators and participants from the US and Georgia urged the Russian Federation to take immediate steps for re-opening the occupation line in Abkhazia region.
During the round, installation of barbed wire fences and various artificial barriers along the occupation line, kidnappings and illegal detentions of local population, as well as the restriction of freedom of movement and access to agricultural land plots were discussed, since they lead to further destabilization of the situation on the ground.
Particular attention was paid to the ethnic discrimination and acute humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in Gali and Akhalgori districts, as well as Kodori gorge. The representatives of Georgia once again pointed out the utmost need to ensure that Georgians living in the occupied territories are allowed to get education in their native language.
The important topic of the discussion was the necessity of execution of justice with regard to the cases of murder of Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria and Archil Tatunashvili. The Georgian participants paid special attention to the death of another citizen of Georgia, Irakli Kvaratskhelia, who died in the custody at the Russian illegal military base, and demanded from the Russian Federation to hand over immediately the materials of the case.
Throughout the negotiations the necessity of restoration of Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) without any precondition was numerously underscored, as it is of crucial importance in light of the existing challenges.
Representatives of Georgia stressed that the Russian Federation must affirm and implement the non-use of force commitment, since Russia continues using force against Georgia through its illegal military presence in Georgia’s occupied territories. The emphasis was made on the need for creation of international security mechanisms in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions in order to achieve sustainable peace and security on the ground.
The participants from Georgia underlined the significance of substantial talks on the topic of safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees, who have been forcibly expelled from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as a result of ethnic cleansing. However, while discussing this issue, participants from Moscow, Sokhumi and Tskhinvali walked out of the negotiations, which once again demonstrates their destructive and irresponsible attitude towards this humanitarian topic of the agenda.
The next round of Geneva International Discussions will be held on 8-9 October 2019.
Geneva International Discussions were launched on the basis of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. Discussions are held within the frames of two Working Groups, where participants are represented in their individual capacity. In the first Working Group talks are focused on security and stability in the occupied territories of Georgia, while in second Working Group – on humanitarian and human rights situation in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as well as on the issues related to safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their origin. The discussions are held with Co-Chairmanship of the EU, UN and OSCE, and participation of Georgia, the Russian Federation and the USA. The Head of the Provisional Administration of the former South Ossetian Autonomous District and the Chairman of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, as well as the representatives of the Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes also attend the Working Groups.
EU reacts to recent developments in Georgia: “We urge all sides to remain calm”
On 21 June, the EU Delegation to Georgia and the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi made a statement following recent developments in the country.
“We are following very closely events at the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi this evening,” the statement said. “We recognise the hurt that many people feel today.”
“We urge all sides to remain calm, show restraint and act within the framework of the Constitution at all times,” concluded the statement.
Georgian Shilda winery announced winner of the EU Sustainable Energy Award for Eastern Partnership
The European Union has announced the winner of the EU Sustainable Energy Award for the Eastern partnership at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels on 18 June. The winner of the first edition of the Award is the energy efficient Shilda winery from Georgia.
Founded in 2014, the Shilda winery is located in Kakheti – the principal region of viniculture in Georgia. By participating in the Caucasus Energy Efficient Program (Energocredit Georgia), supported by the European Union and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the company started using an energy efficient eco-friendly wine production process making it the first environmentally friendly wine producer in the region. Nowadays the winery consumes 60% less energy and saves more than €60,000 annually on its energy bills.
The first edition of EU Sustainable Energy Award for EaP received more than 50 entries from 6 countries covering an impressive range of creative high-impact solutions for energy efficiency and renewable energy use for the benefit of communities and business. The jury selected 6 finalists among which: Biomass Heating Solutions for Rural Development (Armenia), Development of Renewable Energy Sources in Novogrudok District (Belarus), Biomass and energy efficiency at Prichindel kindergarten in Busila (the Republic of Moldova), Georgian Vine and Wine Company LTD - Shilda Winery (Georgia), Reducing Energy Consumption and CO2 Emissions in Dolyna (Ukraine), Higher Engineering Training for Environmentally Sustainable Industrial Development (Ukraine).
The selected 6 finalists participated in a public vote that was held online over the course of two weeks from 28 April – 9 May 2019. All the votes have been counted and verified. The valid votes were combined with the votes of the jury to determine the final winner.
The EU Sustainable Energy Award for Eastern Partnership Countries is part of EU Sustainable Energy Week 2019 (EUSEW) and was, for the first time, extended to the 6 Eastern Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine). The award recognises inspiring EU-supported energy efficient and renewable energy projects that directly help citizens and communities save energy or switch to sustainable sources.
For more information: http://bit.ly/2KYV25C
The EU4Energy Initiative covers all EU support to improve energy supply, security and connectivity, as well as to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. It does this by financing projects and programmes that help to reform energy markets and to reduce national energy dependence and consumption. Over the longer term, this makes energy supply more reliable, transparent and affordable, thus reducing energy poverty and energy bills for both citizens and the private sector.
More information on: www.EU4Energy.eu
EU’s largest agriculture and rural development programme in Georgia
EU’s largest agriculture and rural development programme in Georgia discusses youth migration and addressing climate change
On 10 June, stakeholders and implementing partners of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia gathered to discuss the establishment of a network of demonstration plots and a working group on climate smart agriculture.
The meeting aimed to share updates with the EU-supported agricultural and rural development projects on youth migration in rural areas of the country and the challenges that agriculture faces due to climate change.
The ENPARD partners discussed the prevention of youth migration to cities in Georgia and agreed to dedicate more efforts to fight against youth migration. They also agreed on the need to intensify the work on climate-smart agriculture at different levels as a means to reduce the impact of climate change in Georgia.
The EU supports rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of €179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty.
EU supports enhancement of financial inclusion and accountability in Georgia
In May, the EU announced a pledge of €4.5 million for Georgia which will be used to support private sector development, boost the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and enhance productivity and financial inclusion.
This work will be carried out through the EU’s Financial Inclusion and Accountability project, which started in 2019 and will be implemented by the World Bank until 2022. The project is designed to support ambitious second-generation reforms implemented by the authorities of the country.
The project will be implemented in close cooperation with the National Bank of Georgia, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Finance, Insurance State Supervision Service of Georgia, State Service for Accounting, Reporting and Auditing Supervision, and other private and public stakeholders.
The project is part of the World Bank Group’s support to Georgia under the Country Partnership Framework for 2019–2022 and the EU’s Single Support Framework 2017–2020 for Georgia.