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.
With the support of the European Union, the Open Government Partnership under the EU for Integrity programme has launched an ongoing call for project proposals for its members from the Eastern Partnership – registered civil society organisations and consortia from Armenia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
Applicants should focus on using the OGP platform for expanding civil society engagement and building cross-sectoral partnerships in the areas of integrity, anti-corruption, public service delivery, justice, COVID-19 response and recovery, and civic space.
Grants up to €40,000 will cover 4-12 months of the implementation period.
Unlike regular OGP competitions, this call for proposals does not have a specific due date. The proposals are reviewed quarterly.
The call is announced as part of the EU for Integrity Programme for the Eastern Partnership, funded by the EU and jointly implemented by the Open Government Partnership and the OECD Anti-Corruption Network.
On Wednesday, the Parliament of Georgia appointed four Supreme Court judges for a life-long term. Such appointments, made before the existing shortcomings in the nomination process were addressed, are not in line with the recommendations of the OSCE/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.
These latest appointments contradict the commitment to ambitious judicial reform made by Georgia’s leaders in the political agreement of 19 April this year, and restated on 28 July. This included addressing issues in the Supreme Court nomination process before proceeding with appointments of the judges. These actions risks further undermining judicial independence and public trust in the Georgian justice system.
The European Union reiterates its calls on the Georgian authorities to strengthen the independence, accountability, and quality of the judicial system, including of the High Council of Justice, through a broad, inclusive and cross party reform process. The European Union reminds that, while it remains fully committed to support Georgia’s reforms in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the EU’s assistance to Georgia remains conditional on progress on key reforms, including on judiciary.
Statement by the EU Spokesperson
Most buildings in Georgia fail to meet European energy efficiency standards. Energy-efficient reconstruction helps improve energy security, reduce energy consumption and avoid negative impacts on the environment. Even routine heating of buildings is otherwise quite a challenge and is associated with a number of problems.
In order to meet these challenges, three kindergartens in Rustavi, N6, N40 and N41, have been reconstructed to make the buildings energy efficient and compliant with modern standards. The projects were supported by the European Union, and halved electricity consumption in all three buildings and reduced carbon emissions.
The project started in 2015, and the situation in the kindergartens was really challenging: for example, nine natural gas heaters were used to heat the N6 kindergarten building, with eight heaters installed in playrooms and bedrooms, and one placed in the principal’s office. There was no hot water system, so the staff had to heat the water themselves.
The building rehabilitation included covering of the walls, roof, floor and basement with thermal insulation tiles, and installation of a new lighting system equipped with energy efficient bulbs. A new heating and hot water supply system was installed, supported by solar panels, and 8m₂ solar panels were mounted in each kindergarten. In view of the geographical location of Rustavi, a square meter of a solar panel can generate 1050 kWh of power per year.
Old, wooden window and doorframes were replaced with energy-efficient ones. The new low emission, double-glazed PVC windows prevent heat leakages from the building.
The project developers also equipped the buildings with modern ventilation systems to supply filtered, fresh air for better health of the kindergarten beneficiaries and staff.
The Sustainable Development and Policy Centre (SDAP) implemented the “Reconstruction of three kindergartens in the city of Rustavi for achieving high energy efficiency standard and reducing carbon emissions” with the support and funding of the European Union and the Municipality of Rustavi. This initiative is part of a demonstration project under the Covenant of Mayors.
Thus, the old Soviet infrastructure in Rustavi was replaced with modern energy efficient technologies, and the EU’s support has helped achieve the main goal of the project – to reduce heating and electricity costs for all three kindergartens, and to create a clean environment for children.
European Solidarity Corps: over €138 million to support volunteering activities by young people in 2022Monday, 22 November 2021 15:47
The European Commission launched the call for proposals under the European Solidarity Corps for 2022, providing for the first time opportunities to contribute to humanitarian aid operations across the globe. This new strand of international projects is called the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps.
The call makes available almost €139 million to fund volunteering, youth-led solidarity projects, teams in high priority areas focussing on promoting healthy lifestyles and the preservation of cultural heritage, and the new European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps.
The European Solidarity Corps is open to young people between 18 and 30 for solidarity activities addressing societal challenges and between 18 and 35 for international humanitarian aid activities. Young people wishing to engage in European Solidarity Corps activities need to register in the European Solidarity Corps portal where they can browse and find organisations implementing projects. Groups of young people registered in the European Solidarity Corps Portal may also apply for funding for solidarity projects led by themselves.
Any public or private body may apply for funding to carry out activities under the European Solidarity Corps. Such organisations need to obtain a quality label, which certifies that they are able to carry out high quality solidarity activities in compliance with the principles, objectives and requirements of the programme. They can apply with the help of European Solidarity Corps National Agencies based in all EU Member States and third countries associated to the programme or of the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) for centralised actions.
The call is open until 23 February for projects taking place the same year, and until 4 October for the ones in the following year.
The European Solidarity Corps is an EU programme for young people wishing to engage in solidarity activities in a variety of areas ranging from helping disadvantaged people to contributing to health and environmental action, across the EU and beyond. The total budget of the European Solidarity Corps programme for 2021-2027 is €1 billion.
The material is prepared within the project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"
The European Union, France and the Czech Republic join forces to strengthen social protection system in Georgia. Signature event allowed the signing parties to start the project and show their common engagement in improving access to social protection and the extension of social rights and coverage of the Georgian population.
Tbilisi, 10 November 2021 – Today, a signature event took place at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Georgia to mark the beginning of the EU-project, implemented by Expertise France (Agence Française de Développement Group − AFD Group) and the Czech Development Agency (CzDA), with the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia (MoIDPHLSP).
Their Excellencies, Mr. Petr Mikyska, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia and Mr. Diego Colas, Ambassador of France to Georgia, and Mr. Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation attended the signature event. Ms. Tamila Barkalaia, Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia presented her ministry’s perspective, followed by with a short presentation of the project.
“Social protection goes back to the core values of the European Union. In a democracy, it is all of our responsibility to take care of the most vulnerable members of society to make sure that everyone can be part of social life and the democratic process. This is especially relevant in times of COVID-19, where many people need additional support and protection. We are, therefore, proud to launch this new project together with our Team Europe partners and look forward to many positive steps over the coming years”, stated Mr. Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.
Mr. Colas, Ambassador of France to Georgia, stated that “there is a global alliance between the French and Czech Development Agencies and I am very happy that this finds an application here in Georgia. We strongly support the choice of the Georgian people and of successive governments to build a strong, dynamic, European democracy in Georgia and it makes sense to do this with another dynamic successful Eastern European democracy such as the Czech Republic. The implementation of this joint project, to strengthen the delivery of social services and work towards the social code, will be a key aspect of this broader democracy and institution building agenda”,.
“Development of the Social Code is a key reform that will direct Georgia towards establishment of effective social welfare management system, including decentralization of provision of social protection. Czech Development Agency is happy to join the forces with Expertise France and move a long-term successful partnership with the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia to a new level.”, said Mr. Mikyska, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia.
“By elaborating the Social Code, we aim at creating broader perspective of social welfare. Our goal is to guarantee that Georgian citizens are protected from social risks from childhood to old age. Therefore, relevant healthcare and social protection systems and mechanisms need to be developed. This will be a big step forward towards European and international Standards“, stated Ms. Barkalaia, Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs.
About the project
The project Strengthening Social Protection in Georgia aims at supporting the Government of Georgia and state organizations in improving social services, evidence-based policy making and extending social protection rights. The project will last 24 months with implementing partners Expertise France and Czech Development Agency.
The project will focus on three components. The first component will improve access and delivery of social services and remittances from Social Service Agency (SSA) and at local level. The second component of the project will support better analysis of information and the creation of communication materials around social rights and promotion of social work. The third component will support the Ministry in the elaboration of the social code in extending social rights in Georgia through a collaborative and inclusive process, following evidence-based policy and legislation proposals.
The project is now officially launched and is in its inception phase. The first action of the project will be to identify key policies and strategies for improving delivery and access to social protection services in Georgia.
The Kvareli EuroClub in Georgia marks its two-year anniversary today, with a special event attended by EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell, as well as the Ambassadors of the Netherlands, Austria, France, Turkey and Norway, and the Attaché of the Spanish Embassy in Georgia.
The Kvareli EuroClub was founded by Young European Ambassador Nika Gurini in November 2019, with the support of the EU NEIGHBOURS east regional communication programme. In the two years since then, more than 1,200 young people have benefited from the different projects and activities organised by the EuroClub.
The main mission of the EuroClub is to promote education and development among the general population and young people in particular, to raise civic awareness and to provide access to non-formal education and to spread European values.
As part of the activities organised by the EuroClub, local people have been able to take advantage of free English language courses, vocational training courses, and open libraries, among others.
In the long term, the EuroClub aims to expand and further develop its activities, reaching more people across the region and other parts of Georgia.
To take part and find out more about ongoing and upcoming activities, check out the document below or visit the Kvareli EuroClub Facebook page.
The EBRD will provide a €25 million loan to the TBC Bank in Georgia for on-lending to local firms. At least 70 per cent of this funding aims to help micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Georgia become greener and more competitive.
The EU will complement the loan with grants and free technical assistance for those who borrow, under its EU4Business initiative.
The package will allow companies to upgrade their products and services and bring them in line with EU standards. It will also modernise their production and assist them to operate more successfully in foreign markets.
The support is being extended under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line, a joint financing instrument available in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, which aims to make local firms greener and more competitive. Since the launch of the programme in 2016, 170 Georgian companies have benefited from the scheme.
Meeting of the 3rd thematic group of the Georgia-EU Association Subcommittee on Economic Cooperation
On 13 October, the 3rd thematic group (Energy, Environment, Climate, Transport and Civil Protection) of the Georgia-EU Association Subcommittee on Economic and Sectoral Cooperation convened its 7th Session - chaired from the Georgian side by Davit Bujiashvili, Director of the EU Assistance Coordination and Sectoral Integration Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and from the EU side – by Dorota Dlouchy-Suliga, Deputy Head of Division, EaP Bilateral relations, EEAS.
The sides discussed the progress in implementing the obligations in the fields of transport, energy, environment, climate and civil protection undertaken by Georgia under the Association Agreement.
Representatives of the relevant EU institutions praised the reforms carried out by the Government of Georgia in the aforesaid areas, both in terms of legislative and institutional rapprochement.
MEPs adopted the reform of the EU Blue Card to facilitate the employment of highly qualified non-EU nationals and help alleviate labour shortages in key sectors
The Blue Card Directive, in place since late 2009, defines the conditions of entry and residence that third country nationals (and their family members) must meet to take up highly qualified employment in the member states. However, the scheme has not attracted enough of these much-needed workers, with only 36 806 Blue Cards issued in the EU in 2019 (and Germany issuing most of them).
Less stringent criteria for applicants and employers
Under the revised rules, applicants will need to present a work contract or a binding job offer of a minimum of six months as well as evidence of higher qualifications or professional skills. Currently, a 12-month contract or offer is required. The salary threshold for applicants has been reduced to at least 100 % and not more than 160 % of the average gross annual salary in the member state of employment (from the current 150 % minimum with no upper limit).
Beneficiaries of international protection -such as refugees- will also be able to apply for an EU Blue Card in members states other than the one where they received asylum or another protection status.
It will be possible to attest certain types of professional qualification, such as in the information and communication technology sector, through proof of relevant work experience.
More rights for beneficiaries and their families
Holders of an EU Blue Card will be able to move to another member state after an initial 12-month period in the country that first granted them the Blue Card. They will also benefit from being reunited with family members swiftly through faster reunification procedures and access to the labour market for accompanying family members.
After the plenary vote, the rapporteur Javier MORENO SÁNCHEZ (S&D, ES) said: “We must do everything we can to improve legal migration to Europe and, above all, facilitate the arrival of qualified workers who contribute to the development of our continent. A more attractive and viable scheme adds real value to the existing national schemes. In the future, we intend to go further so that workers in medium and low-paid jobs can contribute to our society in the same beneficial way that Blue Card holders can now.”
The informal agreement with the Council was backed by the Parliament with 556 votes to 105 and 31 abstentions. It will now have to be approved by the Council and published in the Official Journal before it can enter into force. Member states will then have a two-year period to bring their national legislation in line with the directive.
The material is prepared within the project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"