EU urges Georgian authorities to ensure highest legal standards in cases against media owners
The European Union has urged the Georgian authorities to ensure the highest legal standards in cases against media owners.
Reacting to the Tbilisi Court of Appeal decision to uphold charges against Nika Gvaramia, Director General of one of the TV channels in Georgia, including the sentence of 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment, the EU said that it has been monitoring this case closely.
“The European Union does not comment on the merits of individual Court cases, but we note once again that questions have been raised, including by the Public Defender, in relation to this case,” says a press release by the European Union External Action Service.
The press release also reminds that the European Union remains committed to supporting Georgia in addressing all 12 priorities in order to live up to the European aspirations of its citizens.
In this respect, the EU recalls that “stronger efforts to guarantee a free, professional, pluralistic and independent media environment, notably by ensuring that criminal procedures brought against media owners fulfil the highest legal standards” represent one of the priorities identified by the European Commission.
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Georgia: New Head of EU Monitoring Mission appointed
On 31 January, the Council of the European Union appointed Dimitrios Karabalis, a Greek diplomat, as the new Head of Mission for the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia).
Dimitrios Karabalis is currently Director for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, South Caucasus, and Central Asia at the Greek Foreign Ministry. His mandate as Head of EUMM Georgia will run from 1 February until 14 December 2023.
Karabalis succeeds Ambassador Marek Szczygiel, a Polish diplomat, as Head of Mission.
EUMM Georgia is an unarmed civilian monitoring mission consisting of over 200 monitors from the EU member states, deployed in Gori, Mtskheta and Zugdidi in October 2008, following the conflict between Georgia and Russia.
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European Union and Georgia hold Strategic Security Dialogue
The fifth high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue took place on 25 January 2023 in Tbilisi. It reflected the strong level of commitment by both parties to take cooperation forward, including on foreign and security policy, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
The parties highlighted the historic importance of the decision of the European Council of 23 June 2022 to recognise the European perspective to Georgia.
The participants discussed the consequences of the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, including the conflict dynamics in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. They called on the Russian Federation to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire Agreement.
They also highlighted the important role of the EU Monitoring Mission for peace and security in Georgia, and underlined the necessity of ensuring the full implementation of its mandate. The European Union reaffirmed its unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
The meetings of the high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue are held once a year and cover issues of common interest in the field of foreign and security policy.
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EU agrees extra €500 million of military support for Ukraine
The Foreign Council of the European Union reached political agreement for a 7th tranche of military support to Ukraine worth €500 million.
The Council also agreed on an additional assistance measure worth €45 million for the Ukrainian forces being trained by the EU’s military training mission, EUMAM Ukraine. This brings the total military support under the European Peace Facility to €3.6 billion. According to EU High Representative Josep Borrell, the EU’s military, financial, economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine has now reached nearly €50 billion.
Before the Council discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed EU foreign ministers via video conference and briefed them on recent developments on the ground and on Ukraine’s current priorities.
Regarding the creation of an accountability mechanism, EU foreign ministers stressed the importance of preserving the crucial role of the International Criminal Court in international criminal justice and expressed broad support for the establishment of the International Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague as a first step.
Regarding the effectiveness of sanctions, Josep Borrell noted that Russian oil (Urals) sells for US $40 a barrel while Brent sells for US$80. “This means that the Russian oil is being sold at a discount of 50%, and it is being bought by mainly India and China,” said Borrell. “So, it is losing US$40 per barrel. It is a big hit on Russia’s financial stability.”
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Ilia Darchiashvili has met with the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of the European External Action Service
On 24 January 2023, a meeting was held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Ilia Darchiashvili, and the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of European External Action Service, Enrique Mora. He visited Tbilisi on 25 January as part of the Georgia-EU high-level strategic dialogue on security issues.
Discussions focused on current issues and priority areas of the Georgia-EU cooperation agenda. The sides highlighted the historic decision of the 2022 European Council to recognize Georgia's European perspective, which formally opened the country's path to EU membership. Special attention was paid to the importance of strengthening the Black Sea connectivity between Georgia and the European Union and the role of Georgia in strengthening the energy security of the European Union.
At the meeting, special attention was paid to the security challenges and the risks, which, taking into account the current geopolitical background, are an acute problem in the region. The European Union once again emphasized its strong support for the territorial integrity of Georgia within the internationally recognized borders and its readiness to continue its active involvement, including the functioning of the monitoring mission, which is the only international mechanism on the ground. The parties also emphasized the importance of continuing joint efforts, which will contribute to the process of Georgia's accession to the European Union and ensure the strengthening of peace and stability in the region.
EU-supported initiative provides first aid training for 32 kindergarten staff in Telavi
The European Union in Georgia, Denmark, UNDP in Georgia and the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) have helped kindergartens in Telavi municipality of Georgia to organise a first aid training course for their staff.
The initiative covered 32 pre-schools. Two kindergartens received additional support to equip doctors’ offices in their premises.
The importance of these courses is due to the fact that Georgian legislation obliges kindergartens to certify their first aid personnel in order to be allowed to protect children’s health and prevent accidents.
This initiative was selected as part of a grant competition funded by the EU and Denmark to improve management, policies and services in municipalities in Georgia.
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