“The EU Foreign Affairs Council’s Conclusions on Eastern Partnership points to the strategic importance of the EaP to the EU, as well as to Georgia Europe integration aspirations” – David Zalkaliani
“The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union has adopted a very important document, which will serve as the basis for the forthcoming Eastern Partnership Summit. We have worked very intensively with our partners to ensure that all of our priorities are reflected in this document” - Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani said when assessing the Conclusions adopted by the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
According to him, the document includes important issues such as Georgia's European aspirations and European choices. The document also reiterates support for Georgia's territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty, while the EU's involvement in conflict resolution is outlined as a priority. In the words of the Minister, the document also emphasizes the need to strengthen transport and energy ties, in which the Black Sea region plays an important role.
"Most importantly, the document says that the Eastern Partnership is of strategic importance to the European Union, and this gives us reason to say that the final declaration that will be adopted at the next Eastern Partnership Summit will be comprehensive and will cover all key areas important for us," Zalkaliani said.
The Council approved conclusions the on Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020, reaffirming the strategic importance of the partnership for the EU, and the joint commitment to building a common area of shared democracy, prosperity and stability.
D. Zalkaliani has spoken over the phone with the newly-appointed Foreign Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, J. BayramovOn 17 July 2020, the Georgian Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani spoke over the phone with the newly-appointed Foreign Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Jeikhun Bayramov.
Congratulating on the appointment, Zalkaliani wished his Azeri counterpart success in his new role as Foreign Minister. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment towards further deepening the friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries.Enquiring about the escalations at Azerbaijan’s border with Armenia, Zalkaliani received the latest information on the ongoing situation. According to him, there is no alternative to peaceful settlement of the conflict. The Georgian Foreign Minister expressed the hope that through the engagement of international mechanisms and of the OSCE Minsk Group, in particular, it will be possible to bring the peace process back on track and de-escalate the tension.
Within the framework of his visit to Brussels, David Zalkaliani, held a meeting with the EU Commissioner
Within the framework of his visit to Brussels, the Georgian Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani, held a meeting with the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Policy, Olivér Várhelyi.
The discussion touched upon cooperation within the format of the “Eastern Partnership Initiative”, including the framework of Ministerials for Foreign Ministers and meetings for the leaders of member states. Namely, the discussion took place regarding issues associated with the upcoming summit and future perspectives of the partnership beyond the year of 2020.
The parties, once again, exchanged opinions regarding the priorities and views of the Georgian side.
The Georgian party expressed gratitude towards the EU for the active support provided to Georgia during the COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, the EU Commissioner gave a positive assessment of the steps taken on behalf of the Georgian Government in terms of preventing the spread of the virus.
The developments and general situation on the ground in the occupied territories was also discussed, condemning the illicit activity of the occupational forces, which only became more distinct during the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerns were expressed regarding the illicit detainment and arrest of the Georgian citizen on the 11th of July perpetrated by the occupational regime forces.
The role of the EU was underscored in terms of finding a peaceful resolution of the conflict, outlining the significance of the EUMM (EU monitoring mission) as a preventive force in the occupied regions on the ground, deescalating the situation via the means of the monitoring process.
UN and EU launch ambitious initiative for gender equality in Eastern Partnership
With support from the European Union, the two UN sister agencies will work with government bodies and civil society partners in six countries to challenge deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, increase men’s involvement in domestic work and childcare, and engage with potential perpetrators to prevent gender-based violence.
UN Women and UNFPA, together with the European Union (EU), have launched a three-year regional programme to tackle gender stereotypes and gender-based violence in six countries of the Eastern Partnership: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The programme, entitled “EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence,” ultimately seeks to strengthen equal rights and opportunities for women and men by challenging perceptions about men’s and women’s roles in the family and in society and working to eliminate gender-based violence.
“This is our first regional programme covering gender equality in the Eastern Partnership region and we are intensely proud of it,” said Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East in the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission. “We can and we will do more to develop this underused economic and social potential with our Eastern neighbours. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will propose that the future Eastern Partnership be more inclusive.”
A first of its kind, the programme has been informed by an in-depth situation analysis and intergovernmental consultations with the six countries. It is designed to engage a wide range of government bodies, civil society organizations, and individuals.
“We will work closely with governments and civil society organisations in the six countries to ensure the success of the programme,” says Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “This work is even more crucial now as the COVID-19 crisis has put into stark relief the imbalanced distribution of responsibilities based on traditional gender stereotypes.”
The programme aims at achieving real behavioural change. It relies on strategies designed to challenge structural gender barriers and norms, with particular emphasis on transforming gender-stereotyped behaviour, strengthening men’s involvement in parenting and domestic responsibilities, increasing men’s access to parental leave, and reducing the number of people affected by gender-based violence through prevention interventions with potential perpetrators.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, we have unfortunately seen an increase in women’s unpaid care workload and in cases of gender-based violence across the six countries,” says Alanna Armitage, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “Our programme comes at the right time to fight these trends. We all have to work hand-in-hand to build a more just, equal, safe and secure world for all.”
The programme has a budget of €7,875,000 and is anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, launched by the United Nations in 2015, and the EU Action Plan 2016-2020 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women Through EU External Relations. It provides a unique opportunity for the EU and the six participating countries to affect social discourse, perceptions, and practices related to gender equality with the ultimate goal of achieving gender equality and related SDGs.
For more information, please visit: https://europa.eu/european-union/
David Zalkaliani on the repatriation flights to bring Georgian citizens home
At a briefing following the government meeting, the Georgian Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani spoke about three opportunities offered to Georgian citizens wishing to return home.
Charter flights, which will be operated by two airlines: Wizz Air and Myway. The government subsidizes these flights, and maximum ticket price will be 200 euros. The charter flights will gradually bring home Georgian citizens from Warsaw, Athens, Rome and Madrid.
The Ministry of Economy is negotiating resumption of flights with various airlines. It is already agreed that Lufthansa will carry out two weekly flights. Negotiations are underway with Air Baltic and Air France on resuming regular flights from August.
Georgian Airways will operate charter flights from Vienna, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv.
“I want to assure our citizens wishing to prolong this process that repatriation flights may be extended up to August and September, and this will be determined based on the information and analysis we receive every day from our embassies to the EU Member States” – Zalkaliani said.
EU supports Georgia in protecting its coastal waters
On 29 June, a five-day water monitoring survey started in Batumi, Georgia, organised by the EU-funded project ‘European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership’ (EUWI+).
The survey is carried out by Georgian experts from the National Environmental Agency. It aims to assess the quality of coastal and transitional water ecosystems to help identify appropriate measures to protect water resources.
Apart from the survey, the EU also supports the upgrade of Batumi’s laboratory by organising training courses for experts and providing new state-of-the-art analysis equipment. This aims to improve Georgia’s capacities to manage its water resources.
Two similar surveys were held in September and November 2019. The surveys allowed the National Environmental Agency to determine the ecological status of coastal waters in the Chorokhi-Adjaristskali River Basin District.
The EUWI+ project helps Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to bring their legislation closer to EU water management policies, with a main focus on managing transboundary river basins.