From growing saplings to harvesting grapes: EU and FAO conduct training for Georgian winemakers
Two dozen Georgian grapevine producers have taken part in a training recently held at several locations in Kakheti, a traditional winemaking region of Georgia.
The training was conducted by an expert from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture with the support of the European Union and FAO in the framework of the EU4Business programme.
The learning sessions covered the entire vineyard cultivation process and the complete cycle of grapevine production from growing saplings to harvesting grapes, and included such topics as general management of various types of vineyards, planning of pruning, fertilisation, irrigation, organic grapevine production and Integrated Pest Management.
EU Innovative Action for Private Sector Competitiveness in Georgia is a joint initiative of the EU and four UN Agencies, which was launched in 2019 with a budget of €5 million. The project aims at enhancing entrepreneurship and business sophistication by strengthening the capacities of government and local entities.
EIB approves €4 billion credit line to support Ukrainian refugees in all EU countries
On 18 May, the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a €4 billion credit line (or programme loan) to help national authorities, cities, regions and local communities in all EU Member States address urgent investment needs and help welcome and integrate people fleeing the war against Ukraine.
The EIB pledged these funds back in April, at ‘Stand Up for Ukraine’, a global pledging campaign for Ukraine and its refugees, but board approval was required. The EU and Canada then raised €9.1, including €4 billion from the EIB and €1 billion from the European Commission.
The EIB credit line will help to provide this support by making financing available to the development of key infrastructure and services for refugees and host communities, such as housing, schools, hospitals and access to jobs. The financing can also cover eligible operational expenditures related to the supply of equipment, facilities and services for the integration of war refugees.
This financial package will be complemented by EIB advisory support thanks to the EMBRACE Advisory Platform, a new initiative by the EIB and the European Commission.
“All EU Member States can make use of this funding opportunity and bespoke advisory for projects that help refugees start a new life in their host countries,” said EIB President Werner Hoyer. “This initiative comes together with the €668 million support we gave in early March to the Government of Ukraine to cover their urgent liquidity needs; both are part of our Solidarity Package for Ukraine, which we set up together with the European Commission.”
Find out more
European Year of Youth: over a hundred take part in EU4Youth conference in Tbilisi
More than 100 people participated in a conference on youth challenges and opportunities in Georgia, organised on 16 May by EU4Youth and the CENN (Caucasus Environmental NGO Network).
The conference, dedicated to the European Year of Youth, was attended by the EU Delegation to Georgia, local and international organisations, government agencies, and active youth from different regions of Georgia.
“I am glad to see a lot of young people here today, who have come from different regions of Georgia. It is essential to analyse the role that young people can play in the development of society and to consider their involvement not only in the long run, but first and foremost in the present. We are investing in this and the European Year of Youth, and the purpose of this conference is to support young people to participate in change not only in the future, but today,” said Catalin Gherman, deputy head of cooperation of the EU Delegation to Georgia in his welcoming remark.
CENN executive director Nana Janashia explained that the meeting had two purposes: to connect young people and organisations with each other, and to discuss and advocate for youth policy and strategy.
The conference aimed to discuss the current trends, challenges, and opportunities in the youth sector, specifically, youth policy, entrepreneurship, employment, education, and volunteering. In the format of panel discussions, the conference brought together local, national, and international organisations active in the fields of youth, education, social entrepreneurship, and green economy to discuss the main topics of youth sustainable development. The event also hosted a networking session, with the aim of connecting organisations and youth and sharing experiences and opportunities.
The event was organised by the EU4Youth: Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development (SEED) Programme for Green Growth in Borderline Communities project, which aims to develop the entrepreneurial potential of young people from the EaP region in the field of social entrepreneurship, with a view to contributing to social cohesion, employment, inclusion and reduction of inequalities.
Find out more
EU agrees to provide an additional €500 million for arms supplies to Ukraine
EU foreign ministers have agreed to allocate an additional €500 million from the European Peace Facility for arms supplies to Ukraine. This will bring the total amount of the EU military support to Ukraine to €2 billion. At the same time, however, ministers failed to agree on a sixth package of sanctions against Russia and an oil ban, EU High Representative Josep Borrell reported last night.
The EU High Representative was speaking after the EU Foreign Affairs Council that was joined by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.
Borrell noted that the €2 billion in military support was “just the tip of the iceberg”, because Member States “do a lot from their side without asking for refunding”.
Borrell also said the EU has to help Ukraine to keep producing and exporting grains and wheat via the already established initiative ‘Solidarity Lanes’. “The storage capacity of Ukraine is full, because they cannot export this grain and they need to empty this storage capacity in order to be able to receive the next crop. So, we are working on how to help them to take this grain out by train,” added Borrell.
Regarding sanctions, he said: “We will continue imposing sanctions on Russia to make the cost of invasion unbearable for the Kremlin. We continue discussing. Unhappily today, it has not been possible to reach an agreement to finalise the 6th sanctions package. The issue will go back to the COREPER and [EU] Ambassadors will continue discussing. We are with the same difficulties about unanimity on the oil ban.”
EU ministers also met over lunch with the six foreign ministers of the Western Balkan countries to discuss their path to the European Union. “Ministers expressed their clear expectation towards the partners as future Member States, to commit to European values and to the European foreign policy. Those who have not yet done so – and Serbia is one of them – should, as soon as they can, step up their alignment and implement sanctions [against Russia],” Borrell said, adding the European Union’s partner countries could not remain neutral in the current situation: “To maintain close ties with [Vladimir] Putin’s regime is no longer compatible with building a common future with the European Union. Both things at the same time are not compatible. Being neutral today, with respect to the Ukrainian war, is a false concept.” He also said that the EU intends to support its “partners in order to mitigate the effects of this upcoming crisis”.
Find out more
ENPARD: co-investment grants in rural development in Georgia
The EU and FAO have opened a new Agricultural grant programme under ENPARD, the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Individual grants in support of co-investments will be aimed at improving the productivity, quality and marketability of agricultural products, as well as strengthening linkages in agricultural value chains.
The competition will provide funding to farmers, cooperatives and SMEs whose farms and businesses operate in Lagodekhi, Dedoplistskaro, Tetriskaro, Akhalkalaki, Borjomi, Kazbegi, Keda, and Khulo municipalities. Gori municipality is in a special grant category.
Under this programme, farmers can invest in equipment such as no-till planters (for cereals), drip irrigation system, tractors, and anti hail nets (for apples).
Find out more
Georgian Parliament in your phone: EU helps to set up application
The EU has helped to create the Geo Parliament smartphone application.
The app will be useful for all those who want to be more involved in the activities of the Georgian parliament, read draft laws, make comments or have online communication with any member of parliament.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east