Successful performance of the Georgian Government is the most effective way to counter Russian propaganda – David Zalkaliani

Published in Politics
Monday, 10 September 2018 13:47

According to Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, Russian propaganda is the challenge facing not only Georgia but also western states and the most effective way to counteract it is by means of concrete actions and to tangible results.
“We are faced with hybrid threats everywhere. It is a serious challenge not only for Georgia but also for Europe and other countries. However, counterpropaganda should not be a way to contradict propaganda because we believe that one of the most effective ways to fight against propaganda is by achieving concrete results on the European and Euro-Atlantic path. And indeed, Georgia has achieved tangible results in this regard” – David Zalkaliani told journalists following the government session.
According to David Zalkaliani, the Government of Georgia will closely co-operate with European and American partners in order to benefit from their experience and best practices.

Georgia: EU reiterates support for energy efficiency measures during visit

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 07 August 2018 11:20

During her recent visit to Georgia, Katarina Mathernova –the Deputy Head of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission – visited the Kakheti region, where one of the EU-supported Covenant of Mayors Demonstration Projects is being implemented.

In the framework of the project, two kindergartens – one in the city of Telavi and a second one in Ikalto village – will be retrofitted in order to become more energy efficient. The two institutions will also switch to green energy through biomass heating systems. These measures will create more comfortable conditions for children, but will also help the kindergartens to save money and energy.

“The European Union has been supporting Kakheti for many years already. And every time I come to Georgia, I meet people whose lives were changed for the better thanks to the EU. The local initiatives, which are supported by the EU, bring economic growth, social benefits and support the rights of and create new opportunities for the citizens,” - said Mathernova during her visit.

***

Covenant of Mayors Demonstration Projects are part of the EU4Energy Initiative. EU4Energy covers all EU support to improve energy supply, security and connectivity, as well as to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine). It does this by financing projects and programmes that help to reform energy markets and to reduce national energy dependence and consumption. Over the long term, this makes energy supply more reliable, transparent and affordable, thus reducing energy poverty and energy bills for both citizens and the private sector.

EU supports discussion on rural development priorities in Georgia

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 14:55

Last week, representatives of the Georgian government and Kazbegi Local Action Group (LAG) gathered in the town of Stepantsminda to discuss rural development priorities for the region and the way forward.

The main topics of the meeting referred to the state programmes and initiatives designed to promote rural development through the diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, increasing of employment and sustainable use of natural resources.

The event in Stepantsminda was the second in a series of public discussions in the regions. Organised by the country’s Environment Protection and Agriculture Ministry, the event was supported by the EU in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and People in Need (PiN) mission in Georgia.

Kazbegi LAG was established with the support of the EU in the framework of the rural development project implemented by PiN Georgia within the second phase of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). It is one of eight LAGs created with EU support in several municipalities in Georgia.

Pan-European Peace Forum Advocates European Leaders' Support for Peace in Korea

Published in World
Monday, 14 May 2018 18:12

Frankfurt am main, May 12 – European experts and South Korean peace activists have voiced their support for peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula at the 'Pan-European Peace Forum' held in Frankfurt.

Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a Seoul-based peace NGO as in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), organized the event to advocate international cooperation for global peacebuilding and support for the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas.

Chairman Man Hee Lee, a Korean War veteran, appealed to attendants of the forum, “More than anything else, a peaceful world without war would be the greatest legacy to hand down to our children. If a single country achieves peace, it does not mean the world has become peaceful. Peace has to be realized in the entire world. If each person walks in the path towards peace, peace will be accomplished in the global community.”

Frankfurt city council member Dr. Manfred F. Welker delivered a speech on the need for civil society’s active participation. Recalling the small gatherings in Leipzig that sparked peaceful demonstrations for Germany's reunification, he said what will bring two Koreas together is "not just government cooperation but - as we have seen from Nikolaikirche [St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig] - it will be by the collaboration and efforts of the people.”

Prof. Dr. Hans Köchler from Austria, president of International Progress Organization, said the issues of denuclearization and reunification of Korea are mutually reinforcing. He pointed out the prospect of a reunified Korea will be "the best security guarantee to both the North and the South.”

He also maintained that nuclear disarmament should be carried out not only in Korea but also in the rest of the world, saying “there must be no policy of double standards concerning disarmament obligations of states.” Dr. Köchler is serving as a member of HWPL Peace Advisory Council, a group of policy makers and experts from civil society for advancing peace in the international community.

At the end of the event, Dr. Welker presented to HWPL delegation a Letter of Support for the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula and global peace. As in line with its advocacy campaign for global peacebuilding, HWPL is collecting the Letters of Support from state officials to civil leaders, which aim to being sent to the leaders of two Koreas.

Meanwhile, HWPL, to build sustainable peace, is implementing peace education programs in various educational institutions and collaborating with educational experts and teachers worldwide to develop peace education textbooks and curriculums.

EBRD Advice for Small Businesses celebrates 15 years of success in Georgia

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 13:02

02.04.2018 Up to 1,150 advisory projects with local small and medium-sizes enterprises (SMEs) were implemented by the Advice for Small Businesses (ASB) team of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) since the launch of the program in 2003, in Georgia. Around half of the projects were carried out outside the capital city, and about 1/5 of the enterprises were led and/or managed by female entrepreneurs.

The EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses team connects Georgian SMEs with local consultants and international advisers to transform a huge range of businesses from industries, such as food and beverages, wholesale and retail distribution, construction and engineering.

SMEs enrolled in the programme benefit from know-how and customised advice that enhance business competitiveness and foster adaption to the new business environments.  The programme has a special focus to help SMEs meet new food safety and hygiene standards, while improving the export potential to enable them fully enjoy the free trade area with the European Union – the world’s largest trading block.

“Access to knowledge and expertise is one of the preconditions for the businesses to be effective and successful not only in Georgia, but around the world. We work with wide range of enterprises to support their efforts of aligning with European standards, putting efficient systems in place and fostering innovation and competitiveness,” says Severian Gvinepadze, Principal Manager of EBRD SME Finance and Development Group.

Currently, the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses activities in Georgia are supported by the European Union (grant funding) under its EU4Business Initiative, the Early Transition Countries Fund**, Sweden and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.

"Congratulations to our partner EBRD for 15 years of valuable work on small business advice! Thanks to the work of the team, we were able to support Georgian SMEs in their ambitions of increasing competiveness, establishing stronger economic ties with the EU, and running truly efficient and modern businesses. The EBRD is a key partner for European Union’s EU4Business initiative, an umbrella initiative that covers all EU activities supporting SMEs in the Eastern Partnership countries” says Vincent Rey, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia.

“My company Madam Wine has been supported with advisory services in marketing. With help from a local consultant, I set up a new website through which I was able to attract more clients from abroad and signed a three year contract to export my product to Azerbaijan- 50,000 bottles annually. ” says Manana Akhvlediani, Madam Wine CEO.

*Since the start, the programme has been funded by the European Union, the EBRD Early Transition Countries Fund, the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, Canada, Sweden and the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.

**Donors to Early Transition Countries Fund are Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the United Kingdom.

About EBRD

The EBRD was established in 1991 to meet the challenge of an extraordinary moment in Europe’s history, the collapse of communism in its East. The EBRD is the largest single investor in its existing region. With its Headquarters in London and with a capital base of €30 billion and a AAA rating from all three main rating agencies (S&P, Moody’s and Fitch), the Bank’s investments also mobilise significant foreign direct investment into its countries of operations. It invests mainly in private enterprises, usually together with commercial partners. It provides project financing for the financial sector and the real economy, both new ventures and investments in existing companies. It also works with publicly-owned companies to support privatisation, the restructuring of state-owned firms and improvement of municipal services.

The EBRD is owned by 66 countries, from five continents, including China, including two intergovernmental institutions (the European Union and the European Investment Bank). It maintains a close political dialogue with governments, authorities and representatives of civil society to promote its goals. It also works in cooperation with international organisations such as the OECD, the IMF, the World Bank and UN specialised agencies.

The EBRD operates in 38 economies from central Europe to central Asia and southern and eastern Mediterranean and has over 40 local offices.

The green shoots of growth in Georgia: hydroponic farming with EU support

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 07 March 2018 18:25

Growing Georgian vegetables by employing the latest European technologies – this is the motto of Imereti Greenery, a Dutch-Georgian enterprise located in western Georgia, which has benefited from EU support for its development under the EU4Business initiative, seeing production and profits soar as a result.

Since its establishment, the enterprise has been gradually expanding its greenhouse coverage and now occupies 2 hectares of territory in the city of Samtredia. Lettuce and cucumber here is grown by following hydroponic farming – a modern method of agriculture where crops are cultivated without soil by using mineral nutrients in a water solvent. Smart use of geothermal waters makes farming at Imereti Greenery way more efficient and responsible. The clients of the enterprise comprise of the major supermarket chains and high-class hotels in Georgia.

EU4Business and the EBRD are part of the company’s success story: with the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme back in early 2016, the enterprise introduced modern accounting standards which made financial reporting much effective and relations with banks much more successful.

Following implementation of the project, production was up 75%, profits rose 380% and the number of staff grew by 129%.

On the back of the accounting changes, the enterprise was also able to secure financing for LED lightning lighting for growing corps in winter, and is now eyeing even further growth: additional space for greenhouse in Imereti and expansion to Samegrelo region.

“We are proud that we are generating job opportunities for locals of the region. Regional development is critical for our country. Each new job can bring real difference to lives of one, two and maybe even more families and communities,” adds Natia Khelaia, the director of Imereti Greenery. Future plans of Imereti Greenery include substituting imports and exporting to the neighbouring countries.

EBRD Advice for Small Businesses

The EBRD Advice for Small Businesses programme, funded in the Eastern Partnership countries by the EU under its EU4Business initiative, aims to promote good management in the SME sector by providing assistance to individual enterprises, helping them to grow their businesses. It supports SMEs to make structural changes and develop new business skills, helping them to thrive and compete in market economies. The programme also enables SMEs to access local consulting services on a cost-sharing basis by providing grants of up to €10,000.

Apply now to become a Young European Ambassador

Published in World
Friday, 01 September 2017 10:40

Young people from the EU and Eastern Neighbourhood aged between 18 and 25 are invited to apply to become a ‘Young European Ambassador’ (YEA). Run by the ‘EU NEIGHBOURS east’ project, the initiative targets active and enthusiastic young people who are fluent in English and are citizens of the EU or its six Eastern Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine).

Applicants should be interested in EU affairs and their country’s partnership with the EU. The successful candidates will engage in online and dialogue-driven activities and represent the youth of their countries. They will exchange experience, discuss matters of direct concern to young people, share best practices and work together for a better future for their countries and the region.

The deadline is 15 September. Further details on the eligibility criteria and application process can be found here.

The first wave of applications took place in September 2016, through which 100 young people were selected as YEAs from over 800 applications. Over the past year, these YEAs have actively participated in a series of activities, including two editions of the EuroSchool in Azerbaijan, visits to schools and universities in Armenia and the Republic of Moldova and a meet-up in Brussels where they had the chance to interact with high-level EU officials.

The 'Young European Ambassadors' initiative is part of the 'Young European Neighbours' (YEN) network created by the EU-funded ‘OPEN Neighbourhood - Communicating for a Stronger Partnership: Connecting with citizens across the Eastern Neighbourhood’ (‘EU NEIGHBOURS east’) project.

Find out more

Call for Applications

‘Young European Ambassadors’ initiative

Join the ‘Young European Neighbours’ network here

Meet the existing Young European Ambassadors here

Lithuania Will Cooperate with Georgia in the European Integration Process

Published in Politics
Friday, 31 March 2017 16:03

As a part of his official visit to the Republic of Lithuania, the President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili, together with the Georgian delegation, has met with the Speaker of the Parliament of Lithuania, Mr. Viktoras Pranckietis at the official dinner.
The parties have discussed the prospects of developing parliamentary relations and multilateral cooperation between Georgia and Lithuania.
The conversation has also touched upon Lithuania’s support of Georgia in the Euro-Atlantic process. As noted at the meeting, Lithuania will cooperate with Georgia and support the country in the European integration process.
Mr. Pranckietis has once again underscored his firm support of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The meeting was also attended by the Head of the Administration of the President Mr. Giorgi Abashishvili, the Secretary of the National Security Council Mr. Davit Rakviashvili, the Advisor to the President for Foreign Affairs Mr. Tengiz Pkhaladze, the Ambassador of Georgia to the Republic of Lithuania Ms. Khatuna Salukvadze, leaders of the opposition – Ms. Ada Marshania from the “Alliance of Patriots of Georgia”, Mr. Azer Suleimanov from the “United National Movement”, and Mr. Irakli Abesadze from the “Movement for Freedom – European Georgia”.

Georgia is returning to the European family

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 11:15

Georgia is returning to the European family-starting March 28, 2017, Georgia's citizens will enjoy visa-free travel in the EU/Schengen Area. In relation to the historic of fact of visa waiver, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, in the company of Georgian students, scientists, media representatives, and members of the Government, will travel visa-free on March 28 from Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport to Athens, the capital of an ancient civilization, followed by Brussels, Europe's political center.
On March 28, the Prime Minister will open the Georgia-from Europe to Europe conference at the Kapodistrian University of Athens, attended by Georgian and Greek professors, students, and scholars.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili will holdGeorgia is returning to the European family-starting March 28, 2017, Georgia's citizens will enjoy visa-free travel in the EU/Schengen Area.
In relation to the historic fact of visa waiver, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, in the company of Georgian students, scientists, media representatives, and members of the Government, will travel visa-free on March 28 from Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport to Athens, the capital of an ancient civilization, followed by Brussels, Europe's political center.
On March 28, the Prime Minister will open the Georgia-from Europe to Europe conference at the Kapodistrian University of Athens, attended by Georgian and Greek professors, students, and scholars.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili will hold a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, followed by a joint statement of the Prime Ministers. Together with students and scholars, the Prime Minister will visit the Acropolis of Athens. On the same day, the Georgian delegation will travel to Brussels where the Head of Georgian Government will hold bilateral meetings with President Donald Tusk of the European Council and President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission. The parties will make joint statements.
On behalf of the Government of Georgia, a festive reception will be held in Brussels to honor representatives of the EU institutions.
The Georgian delegation consists of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science Alexandre Jejelava, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze, Chair of Parliamentary Committee for European Integration Tamar Khulordava, Chair of the Committee for Foreign Relations Sopio Katsarava, Rector of the Tbilisi State University Gia Sharvashidze, associate Professor Irina Darchia (Department of Classical Philology at the Modern Greek Studies Institute), Archeologist Davit Lortkipanidze (Director General at the Georgian National Museum), Associate Professor Levan Gigineishvili, PhD in Philology (Ilia State University), author Zurab Karumidze, IDU (International Education Center) scholarship holders, Startup Georgia beneficiaries, successful new Greek studies and classical philology students of the Humanities Department at the Tbilisi State University, young people financed under the Produce in Georgia program, successful IDP students from Georgia's occupied territories, socially vulnerable students, and ethnic minority students. a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, followed by a joint statement of the Prime Ministers. Together with students and scholars, the Prime Minister will visit the Acropolis of Athens. On the same day, the Georgian delegation will travel to Brussels where the Head of Georgian Government will hold bilateral meetings with President Donald Tusk of the European Council and President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission. The parties will make joint statements. On behalf of the Government of Georgia, a festive reception will be held in Brussels to honor representatives of the EU institutions.


The Georgian delegation consists of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science Alexandre Jejelava, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze, Chair of Parliamentary Committee for European Integration Tamar Khulordava, Chair of the Committee for Foreign Relations Sopio Katsarava, Rector of the Tbilisi State University Gia Sharvashidze, associate Professor Irina Darchia (Department of Classical Philology at the Modern Greek Studies Institute), Archeologist Davit Lortkipanidze (Director General at the Georgian National Museum), Associate Professor Levan Gigineishvili, PhD in Philology (Ilia State University), author Zurab Karumidze, IDU (International Education Center) scholarship holders, Startup Georgia beneficiaries, successful new Greek studies and classical philology students of the Humanities Department at the Tbilisi State University, young people financed under the Produce in Georgia program, successful IDP students from Georgia's occupied territories, socially vulnerable students, and ethnic minority students.

Tamar Khulordava congratulated Georgian citizens with enactment of visa free travel

Published in Politics
Monday, 27 March 2017 14:17

On March 28 the EU decision on visa free travel for Georgia enters into forceThe decision on visa free travel to Georgia was made by the European Parliament on February 2. March 28 is a historical day for modern Georgia as it his opportunity becomes real for Georgian citizens. I would like to congratulate our citizens with this significant progress and wish Georgia good luck on EU integration path”, - the Chair of the EU Integration CommitteeTamar Khulordava stated at the briefing
This decision is a result of the reforms held in Georgia with active participation of all Governmental branches. “It is valuation of the wide-scale legislative and institutional reforms we started in February, 2013 since Georgia was granted VLAP. Georgian citizens were the witnesses of the entire process. We expected the day when we would be able to state that since now on Georgian citizens with biometric passports are entitled to travel visa free to EU”.
This day and this decision are historical not only because travel to Europe will be technically simplified but because this day is the symbol that Georgia regains its appurtenant historical place in European family amongst the countries to which Georgia always belonged according to the value system, approaches and ambitionShe also spoke about active campaign on visa liberalization for public awareness. “We shall take due responsibility to realization of this right. I am glad to see the active campaign by Georgian Government to inform Georgian citizens about visa free travel to Europe and Schengen. All the citizens shall realize the responsibility imposed on us as we all saw the vast time realization of this opportunity took. It is no reality and it is the matter of our dignity how we will realize it”.
She called on Georgian citizens to have high responsibility and adhere to the regulations established in EU. “Once again, let me congratulate you with this progress and I wish it not to be the last step of our progress to European family. We have higher ambitions and we are aspired to make our European wishes come true. Europe is our common future and we shall stand united on this path”.

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