Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani held a telephone conversation with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
Discussing the ongoing processes in Georgia’s occupied regions, the sides paid special attention to the difficult human rights situation on the ground.
The Georgian Foreign Minister informed the EU High Representative in detail about the recent developments across the occupation line, including the erection of artificial barriers by the Russian occupation forces in the vicinity of the village of Gugutiantkari and restriction of the local population’s right to free movement.
Highlighting the European Union’s important role in pursuing the peaceful conflict resolution policy, the sides underscored the necessity to keep Georgia atop the international agenda.
While on the theme of an increasing number of incidents across the occupation line, the sides stressed the need to discuss the aforementioned issues at the IPRM meetings, as well as within the framework of the Geneva International Discussions. Special note, in this light, was taken of the importance of the EU Special Representative’s visit to Georgia.
David Zalkaliani thanked Federica Mogherini for the activities of the EUMM as the only international monitoring mechanism on the ground, which plays an important part in de-escalating the situation and further improving the security environment.
The EU High Representative reaffirmed her support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Document on the establishment of the Delegation of the European Union in Turkmenistan was signed in AshgabatMonday, 08 July 2019 11:42
On the 6th of July 2019, a meeting was held in Ashgabat between the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission Ms. Federica Mogherini and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the intensification of the multilateral cooperation between the European Union and Turkmenistan. The achievements gained in the bilateral political dialogue, economic and regional integration, as well as the effective promotion of cultural and humanitarian ties had been noted.
The parties discussed the key vectors of new EU Strategy for Central Asia where the vital role of regional cooperation, social and economic development, energy security, creation of pleasant investment climate and joint resolution of ecological problems is stated. The parties also discussed important projects in the field of developing transport systems and regional energy infrastructure, including the construction of the gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India and stressed their commitment to the implementation of joint strategic goals.
After the talks, the parties signed the Agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community on the Establishment and the Privileges and Immunities of the Delegation of the European Union in Turkmenistan that became a meaningful event in the process of developing multilateral between Turkmenistan and the European Union.
Then, the heads of the external policy agencies of EU and Turkmenistan spoke at the briefing on the outcomes of the meeting, which was attended by the heads of the diplomatic missions and international organizations in Turkmenistan and local mass media.
First half of the day, Ms. Federica Mogherini was also received by the Chairwoman of the Parliament (Mejlis) of Turkmenistan.
On 14 May, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker hosted a high-level conference on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.
The conference brought together Heads of State or Government of the Eastern partner countries, foreign ministers of the EU Member States, civil society representatives, business leaders, young people and journalists from across the 34 countries. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, also participated in the event.
“The Eastern Partnership is fundamentally a future-oriented partnership for the citizens and with the citizens; firmly focussed on what is important for them. Together we are working towards stronger economies, stronger governance, stronger connectivity and stronger societies”, said President Juncker. “We have put in place ambitious Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and citizens of these countries also benefit from visa free travel for short stays in the EU. 125,000 loans have been provided to businesses in the Eastern Partnership, of which half are in local currency, and we have contributed to the creation of over 30,000 jobs in the region. And our trade has increased with each of the six Eastern Partnership countries, which together are the EU’s 10th trading partner. I would like us to continue to focus on the content of what we believe we should do together so that our Partnership can keep its promises.”
The conference’s participants discussed the developments of the partnership during this first decade and exchanged views on its future.
Ten years ago, in May 2009, the Heads of State or Government and representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine gathered with high-level EU officials in Prague to strengthen mutual ties of friendship and cooperation and to launch a strategic and ambitious partnership, as a specific dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy to be developed alongside bilateral cooperation.
This joint endeavour, in an effort to build a more prosperous, resilient, stable and democratic region, was based on shared values, mutual interests and commitments, bringing the Eastern partner countries closer to the EU and developing stronger ties among the partner countries themselves, for the benefit of all.
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
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference along with the 9th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum will take place on 25-27 October, 2017 in Tallinn under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The three-day event, entitled "Tangible Results for People: Envisioning the Eastern Partnership in 2020 and Beyond," will focus on the future of the Eastern Partnership policy and on civil society's contribution to better governance in these countries.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said: "Civil society representatives are the best sponsors and monitors of much-needed reforms in the Eastern Partnership countries. They are voices against corruption and for transparency and an essential force in our daily work on so many issues, from fighting violence against women, to improving the media environment. We are partners, and we need each other to reach our common goals and to make the Eastern Partnership deliver."
The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, stressed: “We are delivering on our promise to follow social innovation trends in our broadened support to civil society. Partnerships with key civil society actors, strong leadership and more efficient tools to advance the governance role of civil society organisations are all part our revamped toolbox. Together with partner governments, civil society in the Eastern partner countries will bring us closer to citizens in areas that make most difference for their lives.”
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee Co-chair Hennadiy Maksak said: “Civil society believes in the European future of the Eastern partner countries, based on shared values, rule of law and respect for democratic principles and public accountability. It is of crucial importance to create an enabling environment for the civil society, allowing it to engage in the reform agenda.”
The conference will serve as a platform for participants to discuss better governance, dialogue between governments and civil society, the use of technology to promote government transparency, and inclusive approaches to economic development. Discussions will also focus on civil society's role in combating disinformation and developing media competence.
The participants will adopt a Civil Society Declaration identifying major obstacles to further democratic development offering specific recommendations on how governments and civil society organisations can work together to overcome them.
The European Union's support to civil society has been instrumental in increasing public accountability, respect of human rights, and local development in Eastern partner countries. From 2014 to 2016, the European Union has funded more than 260 new projects across the region, reaching more than 600 organisations.
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference is organised by the Estonian presidency, Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership and the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, a regional civil society platform aimed at promoting European integration and facilitating reforms and democratic transformations across the region.
The event is held every two years as a side event to the Eastern Partnership Summit, which this year will take place on November 24 in Brussels.
On 11 June, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini congratulated Ukrainians on the occasion of the entry into force of the visa liberalisation agreement between the EU and Ukraine. “Today, we bring down a barrier between the people of Ukraine and the people of the European Union. No more visa for short trips between our countries,” said Mogherini in her video speech.
“We made it, and we made it together”, Mogherini continued, addressing Ukrainian citizens. “Ukraine has delivered the reforms its citizens were asking for. And we, in the European Union, we have kept our promise. This is what we call a win-win solution. It will create new opportunities for all of us, strengthening our economies, our security and our friendship. This is what our partnership is all about: making a difference to our citizens’ everyday lives.”
Approved by the Council in May, the agreement provides for visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports travelling to the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This may be for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes, but not to work. The exemption applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
World Press Freedom Day: Mogherini reaffirms the EU's determination to protect freedom of expressionThursday, 04 May 2017 12:30
EU High Representative Federica Mogherini released a declaration to mark the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. The EU believes that free press is “vital for having a democracy that works” and will further support “independent, quality and ethical journalism”, despite “increasing attacks” on freedom of expression around the world.
“Free, diverse and independent media are indispensable to promoting and protecting democracy worldwide. A free press and freedom of expression are among the very same foundations of democracy, contribute to stable, inclusive, and resilient societies and can help defuse tensions and contain conflicts,” she said.
“The EU supports the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes ensuring universal access to information and protection of freedom of expression.”
According to Mogherini, independent media are “the basis of a participatory democracy” and “a tool to make governments accountable for their actions”. In the declaration, she condemns the “threats and violations against journalists” and calls on all EU Member States to protect freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. The EU is also integrating respect for freedom of expression into all of its policies.
The EU is notably funding specific projects in third countries to enhance the quality of journalism, access to public information and freedom of expression. Since June 2015, the EU has supported at least 45 endangered Human Rights Defenders that promote the right of freedom of expression under its small grant scheme.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission commends Georgia's exceptional progress on its path toward the European Union, Federica Mogherini stated at today's meeting with Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
The Prime Minister thanked the EU High Representative for her personal contribution to the successful finalization of the visa liberalization dialogue. Federica Mogherini emphasized that the European Union will complete the remaining procedures relation to visa waiver for Georgia in the nearest future.
Different issues under the Association Agreement were also discussed. The Prime Minister stressed the Georgian Government's commitment to the effective implementation of the 2017-2020 Association Agreement Agenda. The parties also touched on the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit planned for late 2017.