New EU ambassador to Georgia appointed: Pawel Herczynski to replace Carl Harzell
On 8 June, EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced the appointment of a new EU ambassador to Georgia, among 31 new heads of EU delegations.
Polish diplomat Pawel Herczynski will replace his Swedish colleague Carl Hartzell.
Pawel Herczynski is currently European External Action Service (EEAS) Managing Director for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and Crisis Response, and also served as Director for Security and Defence Policy at the EEAS. Prior to that, he was Polish ambassador to the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC).
The new ambassador will be formally appointed once the relevant host country agreements have been received.
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GIVI MIKANADZE PARTICIPATED IN THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE EUROPEAN SCHOOL SUMMER CAMP
The member of the Sports and Youth Issues Committee assigned for the youth sphere, Givi Mikanadze participated in the opening ceremony of the European School Summer Camp in Ikalto organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, LEPL Youth Agency and the EU.
The Summer Camp will host 100 persons of the age of 14-18 from 6 EaP member states (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia).
The opening ceremony of the 2-week Camp was as well attended by the Deputy Sports Minister, Irakli Giviashvili, Deputy Mayor of Telavi, Pikria Ushitashvili and the representatives of the EU Mission to Georgia and various agencies. G. Mikanadze addressed the youth eligible for the first enrollment and underlined the state policy prioritizing the promotion of the youth.
He stressed the importance of inter-cultural dialogue, links and further cooperation and welcomed the initiative of the Ministry and the Youth Agency to facilitate the organization of similar camps and pledged political support.
THE U.S. AMBASSADOR VISITED MTSKHETA-MTIANETI POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Georgia, Kelly C. Degnan, visited Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia. The Director of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department, Davit Tamazashvili, together with the deputy directors hosted the U.S. Ambassador.Within the framework of the introductory meeting, Davit Tamazashvili provided guests with the detailed information about the activities of the department. The parties discussed issues related to existing challenges in the sphere of fight against crime and capacity building of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department.The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America expressed her gratitude to the director of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Police Department for the close cooperation and expressed readiness for future collaboration.The representatives of the Regional Security Office of the U.S. Embassy to Georgia also attended the meeting.Source: Police.ge
Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Mtskheta-Mtianeti Regional Hub
Ambassador Degnan: Well, it’s a beautiful day to be here at the Regional Hub, which is a wonderful example of the great partnership between the Peace Corps and the local communities here along the Administrative Boundary Line. There’s a long history here between Peace Corps and the communities here trying to help youth, to support entrepreneurs, and just to improve the quality of life here for the people living along the ABL. This is a really exciting time because we know how much Georgians have missed our Peace Corps volunteers. We’ve missed them a lot too, and we’re looking forward to them coming back very soon, not just here in the Mtskheta area, but throughout Georgia. So, today is a day for us to celebrate that wonderful partnership between Peace Corps volunteers and all they’ve done with their great partners here in the regional hub.
Question about a letter from former GD MPs about judicial reform
Ambassador Degnan: Let me start by saying that for decades we have been working with Georgia on judicial reform, and there has been some very important progress over the course of the last decade in particular, where we’ve seen some good reform efforts. Everyone knows that there is more work to be done there. That has never been an issue of debate, so it’s a little puzzling why there is such resistance now to doing the work that everybody has been saying for a long time: it needs to continue to improve Georgia’s judiciary, to make sure that it truly is independent, impartial, autonomous, and responsive to the public. In this case, it is baffling to me why there is a question about the kind of consultation that has been ongoing, not just with the United States, but with other legal experts, domestic and international, for decades on judicial reform. That consultative process has resulted in improvements in Georgia’s judiciary. There is more to be done, and that includes commitments that the Georgia’s political leaders across the political spectrum have already agreed to multiple times over multiple years: that these kinds of improvements still need to be made.
There are recommendations from the Venice Commission and ODIHR. These are international legal experts who provide this kind of advice globally to countries like Georgia and other countries as to how to improve their judicial system. Many of them have been fulfilled. Many of them have not. These are the same steps. These are the same reforms that Georgia’s political leaders have agreed to do, both in the April 19th agreement, after the April 19th agreement, and before the April 19th agreement. Some of these are now being discussed in the judicial working groups that Parliament is hosting, and that the opposition and civil society have also contributed to this group. Obviously, the United States has also helped Georgia for many years in building its democratic institutions. That includes a diverse Parliament that represents the Georgian public.
I’m not sure what this group (the quartet) represents. I’m not sure who they represent, and I’m not sure how different they are from the ruling party that they say they left. What I can say is that the accusations that they most recently made against the United States and others are reckless conspiracy theories that have no basis. In fact, it’s very important to keep in mind that the United States works with all political parties across the political spectrum. We meet with Georgians from across the political spectrum, and we have for over 30 years. This is how we know how we can better support Georgia in trying to help Georgia develop its democratic institutions, develop its economy, ensure that it is more secure and stable as a democracy. This is the work that we’ve been doing with our Georgian partners for over 30 years and what we will continue to do in the coming years. I would say that any accusations that we are responsible in any way for the polarization that exists here is an attempt to shift the blame from those who know they are responsible to Western partners, who have done nothing but tried to help Georgia for 30 years along its European path. That is all we have done. I can say from the two and a half years that I’ve been here. Almost every single day, I have worked to try and bring Georgia’s political leaders together to try and bridge the deep polarization that existed long before I got here. And I think it’s important for Georgians to remember, to look back three years, four years, and remember where this depolarization came from. Things like Gavrilov’s night, things like broken political promises and anti-democratic actions. That’s where this depolarization came from, not from Western partners, who again, have only been trying to help Georgia bridge this deep polarization so that the Parliament and other institutions can focus on what’s really important to Georgians: jobs, high prices, good education, better public health. That’s what Parliament needs to be focusing on, and now, in particular, the 12 recommendations that the European Commission has put forward, including pledges that Georgia’s political leaders have made before, and said they were going to do. This is the time to get that done. This is the time to really focus, in an inclusive manner, together, to put aside differences and focus on getting that candidate status.By U.S. Embassy Tbilisi |
EU annual report on Georgia: some progress in Association Agreement implementation and the need for further inclusive reforms
The European Union has published its annual Association Implementation Report on Georgia, which reviews Georgia’s progress in implementing reforms under the EU-Georgia Association Agreement over the past year. The publication comes ahead of the next EU-Georgia Association Council meeting scheduled for 6 September 2022.
“Georgia continued its reform path under difficult circumstances, against the background of its socio-economic recovery from COVID-19, a tense political environment and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said the EU High Representative Josep Borrell. “However, we have seen setbacks in the key areas of rule of law, governance and human rights. As Georgia embarks on the new phase of its relations with the EU, with its European perspective, Georgia needs to take a responsible and conscientious approach that matches its stated objectives and its citizens’ aspirations.”
A report prepared by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the services of the European Commission shows that the EU-Georgia Association Agreement continues to be a driving force for reform. Overall, the process of aligning national legislation with EU legislation under the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, is well underway and successful. Inclusive and green growth remains central to the EU-Georgia cooperation. In 2021, the EU continued assistance related to COVID-19 and contributed to a strong and sustainable socio-economic recovery, laying the groundwork for the implementation of the Eastern Partnership’s economic and investment plan.
“However, in 2021, challenges threatened to undermine the country’s democratic foundations and there were setbacks with regard to the rule of law. This demonstrates the need for a renewed and serious commitment to democratic consolidation, judicial reforms, and action to reduce political polarisation and to strengthen the rule of law and to guarantee a professional and pluralistic and independent media environment. These are essential priorities for Georgia to advance on its European path,” says a press release by the EEAS.
“The ball is now in Georgia’s court. A serious commitment to democratic consolidation, judicial reforms, strengthening the rule of law as well as fight against corruption and organised crime will be key,” said Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement.
The EU-Georgia Association Agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, was fully actioned on 1 July 2016. It deepens political ties, strengthens economic ties and respects shared values, and is the basis for EU-Georgian cooperation and EU support to reforms in Georgia.
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International Youth Day – Finding your place in society
EU and UNDP help introduce youth work in schools and vocational colleges
TBILISI. 12 August 2022 – On the path to creating a high-performing educational system, Georgia introduces new educational models and tools to inspire young people to study hard and strive for professional success. These efforts aim to improve youth education and close the gaps between Georgia and the European countries in the areas related to youth participation and engagement.
For now, around 34 percent of Georgian youth are not engaged in employment, education or training (NEET), compared to 13 percent on average in the EU. Youth unemployment in some of Georgia’s regions exceeds 40 percent (13.3 percent on average in the EU). Only five percent of Georgian secondary school graduates choose to enter vocational education programmes (48 percent in the EU).
To help Georgia make education more responsive to the needs and aspirations of young people, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support the Ministry of Education and Science to introduce a concept of youth work in schools and vocational colleges. The initiative is implemented in partnership with ‘Sunny House’, a non-governmental youth organization.
In 2022, a new cohort of 18 youth workers went through professional training to join nine schools and vocational colleges across Georgia. Youth workers took a lead in establishing youth clubs at the educational institutions and arranging non-formal learning programmes.
In July and August, over 100 young people – high-school or college students, engaged in enjoyable and interactive educational activities organised by youth workers with EU and UNDP support.
In Kachreti, ‘Aisi’ community college grounds turned into a magical world of lost treasures where students had to show their physical and intellectual abilities and team-working skills to win the game.
In Kobuleti, young people will enjoy a rare opportunity to discuss generational challenges with well-known Georgian writers. The discussion will be organised and hosted by the youth club at ‘Akhali Talga’ (‘New Wave’) college.
“The European Union helps strengthen links between formal education and non-formal learning to ensure that young people have access to high-quality education and training and improve their transition from education to employment,” said Nino Kochishvili, Programme Officer at the European Union Delegation to Georgia.
“Getting more young people into employment – jobs that pay well, with real career paths ahead – is a big social and economic opportunity for Georgia. The EU and UNDP join hands with our national partners to curate new and more effective youth education and training programmes. Greater youth employment creates a brighter future for young people and contributes to developing a larger and more dynamic economy for everyone’s benefit,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia.
“We shape our work around the single most important goal – to help young people build skills they need to establish their place in society. Youth work blends formal and informal education to make the educational process richer and more effective,” said youth worker Tamuna Khalichashvili.
Starting from the new academic year in September, nine youth clubs across Georgia will resume their work to continue supporting young people in their personal development and social integration.
The EU and UNDP support draws on the EU-funded US$1,000,000 programme which contributes to creating new educational services in vocational education and training (VET), ensuring the sustainable and inclusive development of the VET system and the labour market. The programme is implemented in close partnership with Georgia’s Ministry of Education and Science, educational institutions and the private sector.