The Council of the European Union adopted, on 30 June, a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Travel restrictions should be lifted for countries listed in the recommendation, with this list being reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from 1 July member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively.
"Team Europe" global response to COVID-19: Council welcomes the mobilisation of almost €36 billion and approves conclusions
The European Council approved conclusions on the "Team Europe" package that is part of the EU's global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its conclusions the Council expresses its deep concern about the global spread of the COVID‑19 pandemic, which continues to claim lives worldwide and have far-reaching social and economic effects.
The Council stresses the urgency of protecting the lives and livelihoods of all people, leaving no-one behind, and of prioritising efforts in partner countries that are most in need. In light of that the Council fully supports the "Team Europe" approach and welcomes the announcement that almost 36 billion euro have now been mobilised and will be used to address the devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis in partner countries and regions.
The "Team Europe" package was launched on 8 April 2020 to support EU partner countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. The financial support initially pledged was around 20 billion euro and combined resources from the EU, its member states, and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the CIS member states was held in the form of a video conferenceTuesday, 12 May 2020 19:18
On May 12, 2020, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R. Meredov attended a meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which was held in a video conference format.
The meeting was attended by the Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth member states, as well as the Chairman of the Executive Committee - CIS Executive Secretary S.N.Lebedev.
During constructive negotiations, the parties discussed a number of important issues relating to the interaction of countries within the Commonwealth in view of the epidemiological situation in the world. An exchange of views took place on key aspects of the regional and world agenda, including ensuring peace and security, countering modern threats and challenges, biological and environmental security, as well as other pressing issues of partnership of mutual interest.
The joint actions of the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States in countering the pandemic were discussed. In this regard, the need to establish effective mechanisms of interaction was emphasized. Minister R. Meredov noted the advisability of considering the issue of establishing contacts between medical scientists, medical practitioners through scientific diplomacy. He noted that "such an approach to systematic work at a professional level was initiated by the President of Turkmenistan during the recent Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement".
The legal base of interaction was examined in detail, including the coordination of approaches and positions of the CIS countries within the framework of international organizations, mainly the UN, OSCE, EU and SCO. In this context, it was about the importance of building confidence and establishing a culture of dialogue in interstate relations, especially when resolving disputes and contradictions that arise.
The parties also confirmed the importance of expanding cooperation in the field of economics, energy, science and education, as well as in the development and implementation of innovations and advanced technologies in key sectors of the economy.
Upon the outcomes of the session, the signing of a number of documents took place, including “On the Plan of Multilevel Inter-MFA Consultations in the Framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States for 2019 and on the Plan for 2020,” “On the Strategy for the Development of Cooperation of the Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the field of physical culture and sports for 2021–2030” and “On the implementation in 2022 of the Interstate program “Cultural Capitals of the Commonwealth”.
CIS Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs holds session in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat.
CIS Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs is an executive body of the CIS that coordinates the foreign-policy activities of the CIS member states based on the decisions, taken by the Council of the Heads of States, the Council of the Heads of Government, as well as holds consultations on the world policy issues.
The agenda of the Ashgabat meeting includes the draft documents, which are aimed at enhancing cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, ensuring security and other areas.
CIS Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs started its meeting in a narrow format. The ministers will have to adopt the Programme of Actions for enhancing partnership between the foreign-policy ministries of the CIS member states, coordinate the documents that will be submitted to the Council of CIS Council of the Heads of States for signing on October 11. Among them is a draft Appeal of the heads of CIS member states to the peoples of the Commonwealth and the world community in connection with the 75th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet people in the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
Within the framework of the visit, the NATO-Georgia Commission will hold a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister of Georgia and the Deputy Secretary General of NATO.
The North Atlantic Committee and the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, for her part, will hold bilateral meetings with the President of Georgia, Prime Minister, Chairman and members of the Parliament, officials of the Georgian Government. Meetings will be conducted with representatives of the non-governmental sector. The North Atlantic Council will visit two Georgian coast guard vessels in the Batumi Port. On the sidelines of the visit, the Deputy Secretary General of NATO will deliver a lecture at the Batumi State University that is highly important in terms of increasing awareness and involvement of our students, young generation. Chairman of the Ajara Government will also speak before the attending audience.
The NAC pays its fifth visit to Georgia, which is unprecedented in the history of Georgia’s cooperation with the Council’s partner countries and a clear evidence of successively increasing level of relations and intense cooperation between Georgia and the Alliance.
Georgia, as one of the most devoted and interoperable partners of NATO attaches paramount importance to this visit of the North Atlantic Council and its unconditional political support for Georgia’s membership of the Alliance that provides yet another proof of the irreversibility of Georgia’s NATO integration process.
The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the principal political decision-making body within NATO. Therefore, it is important that its members arrive in Georgia in person, to see for themselves Georgia’s progress in strengthening defence capabilities, as well as in successfully delivering democratic reforms.
In the margins of the visit, discussions will focus on all issues relating to Georgia’s membership of the Alliance with special accent on the political dialogue between NATO and Georgia and on the need to further deepen the practical cooperation, including in terms of strengthening Black Sea Security.
The NAC’s fifth visit will also serve as an important signal to our society. The increasing number of the North Atlantic Council’s visits clearly indicate that there are special links of cooperation between the Alliance and Georgia.
The NAC’s visit, which is held prior to the Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government scheduled for December clearly shows that Georgia as a NATO aspirant country is high on the Alliance’s agenda and is a valuable and reliable partner of NATO.
The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the principal political decision-making body within NATO chaired by the NATO Secretary General. It brings together representatives of each member country to discuss policy or operational questions.
This visit serves as a powerful signal of the Alliance’s political support for Georgia.
On the 13th of September 2019, the 83rd session of the Economic Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States was held in Ashgabat.
The high-ranking delegations of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the CIS Executive Committee arrived to the Turkmen capital to participate to this event. As is known, the sessions of the CIS Economic Council are attended by the participants of the countries on the level of the deputies of the heads of governments of the CIS member states.
The session of the CIS Economic Council has started with the meeting of the heads of the delegations in the narrow format. During the meeting, the participants discussed the results of joint work aimed at the attainment of higher levels of economic cooperation, noted the priority spheres of collaboration for the future, as well as considered the proposals and projects of the documents of economic and social nature.
Then the meeting in extended format took place.The discussions on the project of the Declaration on Strategic Economic Cooperation between the member states of the Commonwealth initiated by the President of Turkmenistan composed an important part of the meeting. The adoption of such document is expected to promote strengthening of intergovernmental ties and development of effective dialogue in the CIS format.
During the session, the participants viewed the implementation process of previously attained agreements, including the issues of financial provision and execution of the single budget of the CIS bodies.The parties noted the effectiveness of holding the consultations in the area of economic and social policies of the CIS member states, as well as exchanged views on the enhancement of coordination of the CIS interstate and intergovernmental structures’ activities in the area of social-economic cooperation.
The outcomes of the activities of the Commission on the Economic Issues functioning on the permanent basis under theCIS Economic Council were also considered.In the framework of the session, 24 documents were signed.
Then theChairman of the CIS Executive Committee - Executive Secretary S.Lebedev held a press-conference on the results of the 83rd session of the CIS Economic Council.S.Lebedev noted the high organizational level of the current meeting and successful realization of the talks. Then the “question and answer” session took place.
The Council of Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Independent States holds a session in the Turkmen capital under the chairmanship of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Government delegations of the CIS member states arrived in Ashgabat to participate in the meeting that Turkmenistan hosts as a country presiding over the CIS in 2019. As already reported, the Turkmen leader held bilateral meetings with the heads of the delegations of the CIS states on May 30.
In the morning, the participants headed to the building of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had the photos taken together with Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, Chairman of the Executive Committee - CIS Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev and then with the heads of delegations. The forum participants were invited to the venue of the meeting in a narrow format.
Declaring the next, 73rd meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of Government open, the President of Turkmenistan noted that the newly appointed Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Askar Mamin, was participating in the meeting as a member of the Council for the first time. After welcoming the head of the government of Kazakhstan on behalf of the Council and on his behalf, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov wished him every success in his responsible work.
Noting that the heads of delegations of the countries, non-members of the Council, have the appropriate authority to make decisions, the President of Turkmenistan said that the Republic of Moldova participated in the meeting in observer status.
Then the floor was given to the Chairman of the Executive Committee - Executive Secretary of the CIS - Sergey Lebedev, who presented the information on organizational issues.
After the meeting’s agenda was approved, an exchange of views on the important issues of economic cooperation within the CIS has started.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
Press release on the occasion of the election of Turkmenistan to the structures of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOС)Saturday, 11 May 2019 11:31
On the 7th of May 2019, during the work of Organizational session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Turkmenistan was elected to its three important bodies: Executive Council of the World Food Programme for the period of 2020-2022, Commission on Population and Development for the period of 2020-2024 and Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the period of 2020-2023.
The election of our country to these structures became one more proof of growing reputation of Turkmenistan in the world, recognition of its major role in the resolution of most contemporary issues of present day global development.
A significant vector of international activity of Turkmenistan is the provision of food safety and nutritional development on the national, regional and world-wide levels. In this regard, our country proposed an initiative to gather the High-Level Food Forum under the auspices of the UN. The meaning of the proposed initiative is based on the notion that such Forum will give effective impulse to the international partnership in the area of global nutrition and thus will assist attaining concrete future resolutions on the UN level in this direction.
As to the contribution of Turkmenistan in the resolution of population related issues, it is worthwhile to note the implementation in the country of various important programs in the area of reproductive health, countrywide and regional projects aimed at provision of most convenient conditions for applying the demographic policy, protection of mother and child.
Turkmenistan will continue uncompromised struggle against the narcotics. Practical actions are realized in our country aimed at combatting illegal drug trafficking and in this regard national programs are successfully implemented. The membership of Turkmenistan in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs opens new perspectives for cooperation for efficient response to this global challenge.
The election of Turkmenistan to these three important bodies of the United Nations Economic and Social Council serves as a vivid proof of rightness and rationality of the course selected by our country aimed at wide international cooperation in the resolution of actual problems of modern world, suitability of our policy with the security protection, progress and sustainable development.
PACE has suggested the Council of Europe should retain “primacy” when it comes to assessing EU member states’ compliance with common fundamental values – while stepping up its “political co-ordination” with the EU.
As the EU considers setting up a new democracy-monitoring mechanism for its member States, the Assembly said it should be invited to take account of Council of Europe reports, opinions and recommendations when reaching its conclusions to ensure “consistency of views”.
Approving a resolution and recommendation to governments based on a report by Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC), the Assembly said any new EU mechanism should continue to use Council of Europe standards as a “benchmark” for human rights and the rule of law on the continent.
“Both organisations have a shared responsibility for upholding the effectiveness of their respective legal frameworks, ensuring that any overlapping of competences does not create conflict, and ensuring that this set of shared core values and principles is interpreted in a coherent way.”
The Assembly also called on the Council of Europe’s ministerial body to regularly assess the EU’s various initiatives, hold more direct dialogue with the relevant EU institutions, and set up a body for regular co-ordination between the two organisations.
For its part, the Assembly should invite the EU to co-operate on establishing an “annual parliamentary debate on the rule of law”.
The 5th Association Council Meeting, chaired by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, discussed 2018 Association Implementation Report on Georgia and positively assessed the state of the EU-Georgia relations.
The sides reaffirmed their continued commitment to advance Georgia's deeper political association and economic integration with the EU. Both sides acknowledged Georgia's European aspirations, its European choice and the common objective to continue building a democratic, stable and prosperous country. The Association Council took note of Georgia's "Roadmap 2EU" which aims at enhancing Georgia's integration with the EU.
Both sides reaffirmed their continued commitments to bring tangible benefits to the lives of Georgian citizens in line with the Association Agenda's four key areas of cooperation: economic development and market opportunities; strengthening institutions and good governance; connectivity, energy efficiency, environment and climate change; enhancing mobility and people-to-people contacts.
The Association Council welcomed the fact that the Presidential elections, on 28 October and 28 November 2018, were held in an overall competitive environment. It also acknowledged some shortcomings and agreed on the importance of addressing all OSCE/ODIHR recommendations in order to further strengthen the environment favorable for the democratic conduct of elections, especially in view of the parliamentary elections in 2020. The Association Council welcomed the entry into force of the revised Constitution in December 2018 which concluded Georgia's transition to a full parliamentarian system. The Association Council encouraged all political actors to work together and to maintain an open dialogue, including with civil society, in order to further strengthen democratic institutions, consolidate pluralistic democracy in Georgia and advance reforms. Both sides stressed the need to continue the successful cooperation established between the EU and Georgia on Strategic Communication and countering disinformation.
The Association Council welcomed the progress made over the year by Georgia in the implementation of comprehensive reforms in the rule of law; it also noted some areas where further progress was needed and encouraged Georgia to move ahead with the 4th wave of judiciary reform and to continue strengthening its judicial institutions by upholding, inter alia, transparency and meritocracy in the appointment of judges. The EU underlined its commitment to continue assisting Georgia in its efforts to further reform the judiciary and safeguard the rule of law.
The Association Council welcomed that a great number of Georgian citizens have benefited from short term visa free travel with Schengen countries. It welcomed continuous efforts of the Georgian Government to address violations of the visa-free travel requirement and encouraged Georgia to continue its commitment to counter the increased numbers of unfounded asylum seekers in some Schengen countries. The EU encouraged Georgia to further enhance cooperation with the EU Member States to fight against irregular migration and organized crime.
The Association Council welcomed progress made in the implementation of the Human Rights Strategy and its Action Plan, as well as the establishment of Human Rights Protection Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The EU recognized Georgia's efforts and encouraged to continue preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, gender based violence, as well as promoting gender equality, including by strengthening national institutional capacities. The Council stressed the commitment to the universality of human rights for all, regardless of religion or belief, race, sex, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability or other. The Association Council commended Georgia on the adoption of the law on Occupational Health and Safety applying to all spheres of economic activity and encouraged Georgia to continue its work to create an effective labor inspection system in order to further improve working conditions.
Both sides welcomed the progress made by Georgia in the implementation of the Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). The EU continued to be the most important partner of Georgia; the total bilateral trade amounted to EUR 2.76 billion in 2018. The EU invited Georgia to identify concrete products having export potential to the EU, on the basis of which assistance will be provided. Both sides welcomed successful implementation of structural reforms and underlined the importance of ongoing reforms related to the improvement of the investment climate in Georgia.
The Association Council welcomed the first disbursement of the Macro-Financial Assistance to Georgia in December 2018 and encouraged Georgia to continue the implementation of outstanding agreed policy measures in order to enable the disbursement of the second installment. The EU encouraged Georgia to ensure sustainability of the already implemented reforms and maintain macro-economic stability.
The Association Council reiterated Georgia's strategic role in the field of energy, transport and connectivity and increasingly as a transportation and logistics hub in the region. The EU committed to continue engaging closely with Georgia on the connectivity agenda and on the further extension of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The Association Council welcomed the first EU-Georgia High Level Transport Dialogue on 29 January 2019. Both sides also highlighted the importance of Black Sea cooperation as a step towards enhancing connectivity and international trade between Europe and Asia.
The Association Council reiterated Georgia's key role as a partner for European energy security and stressed the country's transit role for Caspian hydrocarbon resources to reach European markets, notably via the Southern Gas Corridor and the Black Sea. The EU stressed its commitment to further support the roll-out of energy efficiency standards in public buildings, based on legislative reforms in key areas. The EU reiterated its continuous support for reinvigorating Georgia's agriculture and rural sector to improve living conditions in rural areas as well as to boost export opportunities through better food safety systems. The Association Council noted the importance of enhanced cooperation in the area of civil protection. The EU welcomed the successful implementation of the first European School in Tbilisi as a crucial milestone in the EU's relations with its Eastern partner countries and Georgia's commitment to education reforms.
The EU acknowledged the importance of EU-Georgia cooperation in the field of foreign and security policy and underlined that Georgia continued consolidating its position of a strategic partner of the EU in the region. The Association Council reflected on the issues discussed during the second EU-Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue that took place October on 23 October 2018. The EU expressed appreciation for Georgia's continued contribution to EU-led crisis management operations and missions in the Central African Republic and the Republic of Mali, as well as readiness to support strengthening of Georgia's respective capacities.
The EU reiterated its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. The EU reiterated its firm commitment to peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia by using all instruments at its disposal including the policy of non-recognition and engagement. The EU delegation, led by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, emphasized that the work of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, and the extension of the mandate of the EU Monitoring Mission demonstrate this strong commitment.
The Association Council stressed the crucial importance of the Geneva International Discussions for addressing and resolving the challenges stemming from the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008. It also reiterated that full and effective Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) is essential for addressing the safety and humanitarian needs of conflict-affected population on the ground. In this regard, the Council emphasized the urgency of resuming the Gali IPRM without preconditions.
The Association Council was deeply concerned with the continued implementation of so-called "treaties" signed between the Russian Federation and Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, as well as with other illegal activities of Russia in these regions, in violation of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, including intensified military build-up, installation of barbed wire fences and artificial barriers along the administrative boundary lines, closure of "crossing points" and restriction of freedom of movement. The Association Council expressed concern over deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in both Georgian regions, with particular emphasis on ethnic discrimination of Georgians, prohibition of education in native language, and deprivation of life of Archil Tatunashvili and Giga Otkhozoria. In this regard, the Association Council reiterated that justice should be applied.
The Association Council reiterated the obligation for the Russian Federation to fulfil its international obligations including under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, notably to withdraw its military forces from the territory of Georgia and remove all impediments for establishment of international security mechanisms therein. The Association Council further urged the Russian Federation to provide EUMM access to the whole territory of Georgia, in line with the mandate of the Mission. The Council stressed the obligation to ensure safe and dignified return of all internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes.
The Association Council stressed the importance of increasing support to people-to-people contacts and confidence building measures across the divides. In this respect, the Association Council expressed support for the Georgian peace initiative "A Step to a Better Future".
The EU commended Georgia's active participation in the multilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership and underlined that continued reform efforts in the partner countries are key to the success of the Eastern Partnership and to the EaP 10th anniversary celebrations scheduled for this year.
Prime Minister's Press Office