Visa-free regime carries a strong political message of the EU’s trust and support to Georgia – Vakhtang Makharoblishvili

Published in World
Monday, 17 February 2020 12:04

Strasbourg – Speaking before the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC) in Strasbourg, the Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister, Vakhtang Makharoblishvili said that  visa liberalization with the EU is not only a tangible result for our citizens, but mostly a great responsibility for the Georgian Government to ensure the sustained good track record of visa free travel.  
 
According to Makharoblishvili, since the inception of the visa-free travel, more than 1 million visa-free visits have been conducted to the EU/Schengen countries from Georgia, thereby demonstrating that the absolute majority of the population abides by the rules of the visa-free regime.
 
“We continue to be actively engaged with the EU and Member States on addressing the challenges related to the visa-free regime. the Government of Georgia implemented as an immediate response to the first signs of visa-free misuse, - such as the launch of the 3rd wave of intensive target-oriented information campaign, creation of the Schengen mobile application, introduction of legislative amendments and deployment of  police attachés to the Member States” – Makharoblishvili said.

He highlighted that the official recognition of Georgia as a safe country of origin and, most importantly, the reduction of asylum procedures contributed to decrease of the number of asylum seekers. Already 16 EU/Schengen states recognize Georgia as a safe country of origin.
 
On a final note, the First Deputy Foreign Minister reaffirmed Georgia’s strong commitment to its obligations and responsibilities under the visa liberalization. “We will pursue all the necessary steps to overcome the difficulties and will remain in close cooperation with the EU institutions and Member States on the matter” – he said.

Georgia Defence and Security Conference

Published in military
Tuesday, 05 November 2019 11:05

Ministry of Defence of Georgia will host the 13th annual Georgia Defence and Security Conference (GDSC) on November 6-7 in Batumi, Hotel Hilton.

Over the past thirteen years, Georgia Defence and Security Conference has developed into a unique forum in the region, where key topics related to Euro-Atlantic security and regional stability are addressed by senior Georgian and foreign policy-makers, experts, representatives of non-governmental organizations, media and academic circles.

This year the GDSC will spotlight four interactive themes. The first panel will focus on discussions of the security environment in the Black Sea Region. During the second panel - Georgia on the Right Track- for the NATO and EU Membership – the panelists will share their views about Georgia’s path towards NATO membership. The third panel will be dedicated to discussions of hybrid tactics and hybrid threats and the last one – “Georgia’s Strategic Readiness: From Words to Action”.

For additional information, please, visit the official web-site of the Georgia Defence and Security Conference: http://gdsc.mod.gov.ge/

Media Accreditation:

The conference is open for media. Media representatives interested in covering the GDSC should apply the Ministry of Defense of Georgia for accreditation from October 28th to November 4th. Accreditation cards will be issued before the official opening of the event. For accreditation, please send the data requested below to the e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Baghdati Municipality has introduced a new concept for promoting the city as a tourist destination

Published in Society
Friday, 02 August 2019 16:03

Baghdati, Georgia, 2 August 2019 – The municipality of Baghdati in western Georgia welcomed colleagues from the Polish town of Kostrzyn for a 4-day Staff Exchange Programme aimed at strengthening opportunities for tourism to the Georgian municipality. This intense exchange, which involved international as well as local participants, resulted in the introduction of a new concept for promoting Baghdati as a tourist destination during a final workshop.

Launched within the framework of the EU’s ‘Mayors for Economic Growth’ (M4EG) initiative, Staff Exchange Programmes send experienced municipal staff from EU countries on week-long missions to selected signatories in order to share their experience and render assistance. To date, 50 signatories from the 6 Eastern Partnership countries have applied for such support; in Georgia, the municipalities of Baghdati and Kutaisi were among the beneficiaries selected for the first 9 missions to take place in 2019.

Baghdati seeks practical advice on how to organize annual festivals and fairs of locally made products in accordance with European standards, and on how to attract tourists from both Georgia and abroad. The municipality of Kostrzyn volunteered to share their experience with Baghdati, which provided significant co-financing for the mission.

The Polish delegation was led by Kostrzyn’s mayor, Mr Andrzej Ludwik Kunt, who was accompanied by the manager of the town’s European Integration and International Co-operation Office, Ms Agnieszka Żurawska-Tatała. The workshop also included representatives from the M4EG initiative, the Georgian National Tourism Administration, the government of Georgia’s Imereti region as well as local groups and small businesses from the towns of Kutaisi, Terjola, Zestaponi and other neighbouring areas.

After a series of welcoming speeches, the Polish delegation presented an international tourism growth case study from Kostrzyn, and familiarized their Georgian colleagues with international standards to help them overcome the challenges of ‘going global’. In turn, Baghdati municipality presented their new concept—‘Come to Baghdati: Promoting the city in new ways’. These presentations were followed by lively discussions during which all the participants made numerous recommendations.

Following the workshop, Mr Archil Gogsadze, the Mayor of Baghdati, noted thatOur work was very productive, and we held many discussions with our guests. The Polish experts gave us directions and advice for organizing festivals in Baghdati according to international quality standards. We are now more confident of being able to adopt European values and standards in our region. We have already planned to hold a wine and art festival in Baghdati this autumn, and we hope this event will attract many visitors thanks to the new approaches.’

For his part, Mr Andrzej Ludwik Kunt, the Mayor of Kostrzyn, declared that ‘We are glad to have been given the opportunity to support the municipality of Baghdati. In Kostrzyn, we organize a great number of festivals every year, which are attended by almost half a million people. Sixteen years of experience in this field have enabled us to advise Baghdati on how to arrange successful events. We are truly fascinated by the town’s great potential for tourism, which is due to its amazing natural surroundings and the hospitality of its people, who are hard-working and ready to be actively involved in the municipality’s growth and development.’

Mr Zviad Archuadze, the M4EG Country Coordinator for Georgia and Azerbaijan, highlighted the fact that ‘The M4EG Initiative’s Staff Exchange Programmes enable our signatories to learn about the best European practices and to benefit from advice in their fields of interest. Nine Georgian signatories applied to the programme this year, of which 2 municipalities, including Baghdati, were selected—but this is only the first year of the Staff Exchange Programme, and we might soon announce the next edition in order to give other municipalities the chance to learn from their European colleagues.’

In the meantime, a second staff exchange will see another team of EU experts visiting the Georgian municipality of Kutaisi this August.

About the ‘Mayors for Economic Growth’ (M4EG) Initiative:

The EU’s ‘Mayors for Economic Growth’ (M4EG) Initiative was launched in January 2017 in the 6 Eastern Partnership countries in order to increase the capacity of local administrations to stimulate economic growth and job creation in their area. By the summer of 2019, over 300 local authorities had already joined the Initiative, over half of which have already been promoted from Junior to Acting Members upon drafting and beginning to carry out their unique local economic development plans. In order to support the efforts of these Acting Members, the M4EG Secretariat launched a Staff Exchange Programme to send experienced municipal staff from EU countries on one-week missions to share their experience and render assistance.

EU reacts to recent developments in Georgia: “We urge all sides to remain calm”

Published in Politics
Friday, 21 June 2019 16:59

On 21 June, the EU Delegation to Georgia and the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi made a statement following recent developments in the country.

“We are following very closely events at the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi this evening,” the statement said. “We recognise the hurt that many people feel today.”

“We urge all sides to remain calm, show restraint and act within the framework of the Constitution at all times,” concluded the statement.

 

EU’s largest agriculture and rural development programme in Georgia

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 18 June 2019 10:52

EU’s largest agriculture and rural development programme in Georgia discusses youth migration and addressing climate change

On 10 June, stakeholders and implementing partners of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Georgia gathered to discuss the establishment of a network of demonstration plots and a working group on climate smart agriculture.

The meeting aimed to share updates with the EU-supported agricultural and rural development projects on youth migration in rural areas of the country and the challenges that agriculture faces due to climate change.

The ENPARD partners discussed the prevention of youth migration to cities in Georgia and agreed to dedicate more efforts to fight against youth migration. They also agreed on the need to intensify the work on climate-smart agriculture at different levels as a means to reduce the impact of climate change in Georgia.

The EU supports rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of €179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty.

EU supports enhancement of financial inclusion and accountability in Georgia

Published in Economics
Thursday, 06 June 2019 11:09

In May, the EU announced a pledge of €4.5 million for Georgia which will be used to support private sector development, boost the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and enhance productivity and financial inclusion.

This work will be carried out through the EU’s Financial Inclusion and Accountability project, which started in 2019 and will be implemented by the World Bank until 2022. The project is designed to support ambitious second-generation reforms implemented by the authorities of the country.

The project will be implemented in close cooperation with the National Bank of Georgia, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Finance, Insurance State Supervision Service of Georgia, State Service for Accounting, Reporting and Auditing Supervision, and other private and public stakeholders.

The project is part of the World Bank Group’s support to Georgia under the Country Partnership Framework for 2019–2022 and the EU’s Single Support Framework 2017–2020 for Georgia.

Georgia and Moldova to join multi-country workshop on animal welfare during sea transportation

Published in Society
Wednesday, 05 June 2019 10:50

On 11 June, Chief Veterinary Officers and experts from the Republic of Moldova and Georgia will join their counterparts from some of the EU’s other Neighbourhood countries at a seminar in Bucharest, Romania, to discuss animal welfare during transportation by sea.

This multi-country workshop aims to identify good practices and facilitate exchanges of experience between experts in the field of animal welfare during transportation by sea of live animals from the EU to third countries.

The workshop is being organised by the European Commission’s Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX), in cooperation with the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority in Romania.

According to TAIEX, the communication of standards on animal welfare during transportation are relevant to international trade and cooperation with partners across the world, who play a significant role in promoting and implementing them. Such standards are included in the provisions of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

In 2004, the EU adopted a regulation through which harmonised rules were set for animal welfare during transport in and between the Member States. Moreover, in 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that, for the transportation of animals involving a long journey starting from EU territory and continuing outside of it, the organiser of the transport from the EU is responsible for the welfare of animals for the entire journey, up to the final point in the third country.

EU launches three new environmental projects in Georgia

Published in Society
Friday, 26 April 2019 12:22

The EU is launching three new projects in the sectors of environmental protection and climate change in Georgia. The projects come in addition to the numerous actions already supported by the EU in Georgia and focus on issues such as the rehabilitation of water supply and sanitation systems, construction of modern landfills, the fight against industrial pollution, protection of forests, and health.

The launch of these three environmental projects is testament to the EU's leading role in the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change.

These new initiatives will help Georgia fulfil its international commitments in the sectors of the environment and climate change and will help to better protect the environment and the health of citizens.

On 22 April, Georgia joined the new EU-funded regional initiative “EU4Climate”. This new project is bringing together Georgia and other countries of the Eastern Partnership to tackle climate change. It will help Georgia lower its greenhouse gas emissions and fulfil its commitments under the Paris Agreement. It will also help mitigate climate change and limit its negative impacts on the environment and people’s lives.

On 24 April, another new regional EU-funded action, “EU4Environment”, was then presented in the country’s capital of Tbilisi. The project will help Georgia and other countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood preserve natural capital and increase environmental well-being by supporting environment-related action, unlocking opportunities for greener growth and setting mechanisms to better manage environmental risks and impacts.

The country will further benefit from another EU project entitled “Support to implementation of the environmental provisions of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement”. This new project will help Georgia implement environmental commitments included in the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and will help better protect Georgian nature, decrease pollution and improve air quality.

The European Union is working together with Georgian authorities to improve the environment and tackle the issue of climate change – both at national and local levels.

Council of Europe should retain ‘primacy’ when assessing EU states’ basic values

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 10 April 2019 14:18

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”.

Georgia: EU officials visit Tetritskaro municipality to evaluate results of support

Published in Economics
Friday, 05 April 2019 09:51

On 3 April 2019, an EU mission from Brussels led by John Clarke, Director of International Affairs at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture, visited an EU-supported rural development project in the Tetritskaro municipality of Georgia.

Clarke met with the members of Tetritskaro Local Action Group (LAG) and the project implementing partner organisation, the Association Rural Development for Future Georgia.

Afterwards, he visited an EU-funded cheese factory in the village of Tsintskaro. The director of the factory explained the specifics of dairy processing and shared her plans for the business’s development with the EU’s support under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). The guests had an opportunity to observe the cheese-making process and taste different varieties of cheese made at the factory.

The EU supports rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of €179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty.

https://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/news/georgia-eu-officials-visit-tetritskaro-municipality-evaluate-results

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