Georgian and Armenian Foreign Ministers have once again exchanged views on COVID-19 pandemic situation
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani spoke over the phone with his Armenian counterpart, Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. The Armenian Minister expressed his gratitude for the Georgian government’s active communication with Armenia.
The two ministers exchanged information on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak situation and on actions taken by the Georgian and Armenian governments to prevent its further spread.
On behalf of the Georgian Prime Minister, David Zalkaliani once again offered assistance to the Armenian side in the fight against the pandemic.
Speaking on behalf of the Armenian Prime Minister, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan expressed his appreciation regarding the offer. He said that he highly values the Georgian people’s support in these difficult times. The two ministers agreed to continue active communication, including through the active involvement of sectoral agencies.
Exchanging information on security issues, the parties underlined that regional and global security taken on an increasingly meaningful focus during the pandemic.
Conversations also included issues of cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats, including within the Eastern Partnership
Special note was taken of the special importance of Eastern Partnership for the countries involved in it. The Ministers said that they look forward to exchanging high-level visits once the pandemic is over. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan invited David Zalkaliani for a visit to Armenia.
Mass COVID-19 vaccination begins in Azerbaijan
BAKU, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Azerbaijan's senior health officials on Monday took their first inoculations of a vaccine made by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, marking the beginning of mass vaccination against COVID-19 in the country, according to state-run news agency AZERTAC.Azerbaijani Health Minister Ogtay Shiraliyev and his deputies, as well as other health officials, were among the first to be vaccinated by what Shahmar Movsumov, an assistant to the president of Azerbaijan, earlier described as "the most safe and effective vaccine" procured by Azerbaijan.Specialists decided that "the best vaccine for Azerbaijan is the vaccine of the Sinovac company" as it has passed clinical tests in many countries, said Shiraliyev, when addressing the local media after his inoculation in Baku.The first stage of mass vaccination starting on Jan. 18 will cover health and technical workers at the country's medical institutions, law enforcement staff and servicemen, while people aged over 65 will be vaccinated starting from Feb. 1, according to health authorities.Last week, Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers approved the country's national COVID-19 vaccination strategy for 2021-2022, under which people who get the COVID-19 jab will receive a certificate to show they have been vaccinated.Azerbaijan purchased 4 million doses of Sinovac vaccine, the first batch of which has been recently delivered to the country.Although a strict special quarantine regime remains in effect throughout Azerbaijan until April 1, the authorities lifted major restrictions last weekend due to a drop in the number of infections in recent weeks.According to the country's operational headquarters for COVID-19 prevention and control, Azerbaijan reported on Sunday 322 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 227,273.
Inter-Agency Coordination Council Rules COVID Restrictions be Kept till February 1
Current COVID restrictions will be maintained till February 1. It was decided by the Inter-Agency Coordination Council led by Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Government Administration today.
As instructed by the Head of Government of Georgia, intensive meetings will be held with business owners prior to the gradual removal of restrictions to make sure that maximum preparedness and high standards of public safety exist by that time in the trade sector and public transportation.
Inter-Agency Coordination Council also discussed the
Discussions were held at the Council Meeting on the current epidemic situation in the country, along with current efforts taken for the uninterrupted flow of the vaccination process. It was noted that the community transfer rate is stabilising as a result of imposed restrictions, though it should not relax us. Compliance with all the issued recommendations, including the social distancing and uniform wearing of face masks, remains vital.
Steps made by the Specialized Task Force established with the instructions of the Prime Minister of Georgia for the uninterrupted flow of COVID vaccination process in the country have been discussed at the meeting today as well. It was noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and overseas diplomatic missions of Georgia are engaged in the negotiations held on behalf of the State with international partners and pharmaceutical companies to make sure that first dozes of the COVID vaccine reach the country as early as possible.
The Inter-Agency Coordination Council also discussed the steps made by the Designated Commission established under the instructions of the Prime Minister of Georgia. Council was also briefed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the actions taken by the overseas diplomatic missions of Georgia towards this end. It was noted that negotiations are actively pursued concurrently with several pharmaceutical companies to make sure that vials reach the country as soon as possible. Nevertheless, international recognition of the vaccine is the most important precondition of the procurement. It should be cleared by the World Health Organization and should have an international acknowledgement. Also, it was noted that essential infrastructure already exists in the country for keeping vials in the required conditions and work progresses to build capacity towards this end. Besides, a specialised commission is actively working on the schedule of immunization, which defines the due target groups and stages of vaccination in the country.
Since the detection of the first case of COVID-19 in Georgia, 239 780 individuals have been proven positive through lab testing, out of which 226 215 individuals recovered and 2 796 died.
Currently 506 individuals are placed in quarantine, 722 - at clinical hotels and 3 929 - at hospitals under medical supervision.
The Inter-Agency Coordination Council led by the Prime Minister of Georgia actively engages the Parliament of Georgia chaired by MP Archil Talakvadze and Administration of the President of Georgia.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Colleagues congratulate David Zalkaliani upon his reappointment to the position of Foreign MinisterSecretary General of the Council of Europe, as well as Foreign Ministers of Romania, Hungary and Lithuania congratulate their Georgian counterpart, David Zalkaliani, upon his reappointment to the position of Foreign Minister.
“I would like to confirm my respect to the efforts exerted by the Georgian Government in terms of overcoming challenges arisen in the healthcare sector and the priorities introduced by Georgia during its chairmanship of the committee of ministers of the council. I am convinced that your share of work in the council will only continue to grow as per your mandate and grow into brilliant cooperation. You have always demonstrated that in this regard the organisation can rely on Georgia’s support, as Georgia represents a country that has never stopped active efforts to strengthen our common European values and standards,” – noted Marija Pejčinović Burić in her address.
The Lithuanian Foreign Minister expressed readiness to further deepen cooperation with Georgia across the board. The head of the Romanian diplomacy, Bogdan Aurescu, in turn, expressed hopefulness that Georgia and Romania will establish a strategic partnership in order to capitalise on the existing achievements as well as build a bilateral dialogue across the board allowing to further deepen cooperation between the two states.
It is noteworthy, that in their addresses Zalkaliani’s colleagues, once again, underscore their confirmation regarding the support of Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic integration, along with Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
EIB and ProCredit to support faster recovery of Georgia`s SMEs from the COVID-19 crisis with €10 million
The European Investment Bank /EIB/ will provide €10 million to the ProCredit Group to offer a new credit line for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and midcaps.
The EU bank and ProCredit create a €10 million credit line for the recovery of SMEs and midcaps from the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia.
EIB and ProCredit Group agree on similar credit lines in Ukraine (€25 million) and Moldova (€20 million), bringing the total support to companies to €55 million.
The operation is part of the Team Europe’s COVID-19 emergency response to help sustain jobs, maintain liquidity and operations, and fuel the economic recovery of the EU partner countries.
The European Investment Bank, the lending arm of the European Union, will provide €10 million to the ProCredit Group to offer a new credit line for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and midcaps in Georgia and support their faster recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The credit line can be made available in multiple currencies, including in the local currency.
The investment is a part of a €55 million regional agreement with the ProCredit, which allows creation of similar credit lines at ProCredit Group in Ukraine (€25 million) and Moldova (€20 million), all in support of faster economic COVID-19 recovery of the EU partner countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood.
This transaction provides much-needed financing to companies in Georgia to address working capital issues created by the ongoing pandemic. The EIB loan also strengthens the national banking sector in Georgia and reinforces its ability to finance the economic recovery of the country.
EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, who is in charge of operations in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, said: “Team Europe continues to support economic recovery of EU partner countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood from COVID-19, reinforcing pan-European solidarity in these difficult times. We have thus created new sources of financing at a moment when such aid is crucial for the survival of our SMEs. We look forward to expanding our partnership in the future, so as to allow even more companies benefit from our shared dedication to support SMEs and midcaps grow and develop.
EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell said: The EU stands by Georgia during the pandemic. The EU has mobilised an unprecedented GEL 1.5 billion COVID-19 support package for Georgia, of which economic recovery of businesses is a fundamental part. This top-up by the EU bank strengthens this component by providing more assistance via local Georgian banks. Thanks to this agreement, an additional number of Georgian small and medium businesses will be able to access finance to get them through these challenging times.
The management of ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA, the parent company of the ProCredit group, said:
“Thanks to the well-established relationships with our clients and partners such as the EIB, we have been able to provide efficient support to numerous SMEs during these turbulent months. These EIB credit lines will support SMEs in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to overcome short-term liquidity shortages and will provide much-needed support in local currencies for their investment projects. We expect that this will open them up to new lines of business and opportunities and thus will support economic recovery in the coming years. We are confident that this will be stimulated by a structural shift towards investments that are climate-friendly as well as socially and ecologically sustainable.”
Team Europe: Strengthening pan-European solidarity in times of crisis
The EIB investment is a part of Team Europe’s overall response to COVID-19 and supports the sustainable social and economic recovery of the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. The operation reinforces both SMEs and mid-caps, which are the backbone of national economies and a major source of employment in three countries.
Covered by guarantees from the European Union, the EIB investment enables the ProCredit Group to increase its lending activities without jeopardising the long-term stability of the local financial sectors or their ability to support the economic recovery from the pandemic in the long term.
The credit lines will be even more attractive due to the more flexible terms enabled by the EIB’s COVID-19 emergency measures. These emergency measures are a part of Team Europe’s efforts to support partner countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood during the pandemic.
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The EU commits a further €55 million for the development of agriculture and rural areas in Georgia
The fourth phase of the EU’s ENPARD programme will provide extended assistance in the food safety and SPS sector to enhance consumer protection and promote EU exports of Georgian products. The programme will also continue to support rural development to further improve living conditions for a larger proportion of the rural population in Georgia.
TBILISI. December 17, 2020 – The EU Ambassador to Georgia H.E. Carl Hartzell and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mr. David Zalkaliani today signed an agreement to kick off the fourth phase of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD IV) worth €55 million (approximately GEL 215 million). The Acting Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia Mr. Levan Davitashvili also attended the signature event. The programme aims to enhance consumer protection, promote EU exports and improve livelihoods of rural population in Georgia. It is part of the wider assistance package mobilized by the EU and Team Europe to support Georgia’s COVID-19 recovery.
“We are happy to announce today our continued cooperation with the government of Georgia under the fourth phase of the ENPARD programme. Since 2013, with over GEL 500 million budget, the EU’s ENPARD programme has been providing extensive support to make Georgia’s agriculture more competitive and to improve living standards in rural areas. Looking forward, we would like to see more Georgian farmers, cooperatives and small and medium size enterprises better equipped to produce high quality products and export to the EU. We also support better infrastructure and services, growth of tourism, more effective local public-private partnerships and entrepreneurship in rural areas. This will help create new employment opportunities and will maximize the country’s economic growth,” stated Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.
“ENPARD programme brings concrete results for our country and particularly for our rural population. As a result of this program, the quality of products, the employment opportunities for our citizens and the EU exports are significantly improving. Even more important is the implementation of this programme at in the pandemic context. The financial support provided to Georgia under the fourth phase of ENPARD is part of the wider EU assistance supporting Georgia’s COVID-19 recovery,” stated David Zalkaliani, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
“Georgia is one of the outstanding countries of the Eastern Partnership that has successfully carried out all three phases of ENPARD programme. We believe that the fourth phase will be implemented successfully as well. This is a remarkable volume of assistance, € 55 million, of which € 31 million is going to be the direct budget support. However, a very important and efficient part of the assistance is a € 24 million technical and grant component, which is going to have a complementary effect on the implementation of our policy also developed in close partnership with the EU,” stated Levan Davitashvili, Acting Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.
ENPARD IV will provide extended assistance in the food safety and sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) sector to enhance consumer protection for citizens of Georgia and to promote exports of Georgian products to EU Member States. ENPARD IV will build on the achievements of the Comprehensive Institution Building (CIB) programme and of previous ENPARD phases. It will provide further support to the National Food Agency (NFA) for improved inspection and control systems and for continuation of the legal approximation process including enforcement of newly adopted regulations. It will also support food business operators in their efforts to adapt to the sectoral reforms.
In addition, ENPARD IV will further support rural development and will improve living conditions for a larger proportion of the rural population in Georgia, rendering the rural development sector more dynamic and effectively contributing to Georgia’s economic and social development. The fourth phase of ENPARD will improve the economic and social integration of vulnerable households in disadvantaged rural regions of Georgia, including eco-migrants, conflict affected people, ethnic minorities, Georgian returnees and migrants. The action will continue to enhance civic participation in the regions of Georgia through increased civil society involvement in local decision-making processes and will continue to actively promote and encourage participation of youth and women, noting the specific needs and constraints of these groups.
Press Release of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia