The European Union’s cooperation with Georgia was strategically sound and benefited from a strong institutional framework in its design and implementation. This is one of the conclusions presented in the evaluation of EU support to Georgia in 2014-2020, published by the EU Delegation to Georgia on 16 September.
The conclusions also state that a wide range of instruments, modalities and funding channels have been used in the cooperation with Georgia. Progress has been made to promote accountability and transparency, and visa liberalisation has yielded good results. The assessment stresses that public confidence in the European Union remains high. Shortcomings include limited progress in judicial reform as well as in the area of human rights.
The evaluation has been conducted over the two past years by an independent team of evaluators. The work included the review of over 2,000 documents and interviews with close to a hundred stakeholders.
The document provides general recommendations on how to improve the cooperation and detailed recommendations on six priority sectors of EU-Georgia cooperation.
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More than 100 people participated in a conference on youth challenges and opportunities in Georgia, organised on 16 May by EU4Youth and the CENN (Caucasus Environmental NGO Network).
The conference, dedicated to the European Year of Youth, was attended by the EU Delegation to Georgia, local and international organisations, government agencies, and active youth from different regions of Georgia.
“I am glad to see a lot of young people here today, who have come from different regions of Georgia. It is essential to analyse the role that young people can play in the development of society and to consider their involvement not only in the long run, but first and foremost in the present. We are investing in this and the European Year of Youth, and the purpose of this conference is to support young people to participate in change not only in the future, but today,” said Catalin Gherman, deputy head of cooperation of the EU Delegation to Georgia in his welcoming remark.
CENN executive director Nana Janashia explained that the meeting had two purposes: to connect young people and organisations with each other, and to discuss and advocate for youth policy and strategy.
The conference aimed to discuss the current trends, challenges, and opportunities in the youth sector, specifically, youth policy, entrepreneurship, employment, education, and volunteering. In the format of panel discussions, the conference brought together local, national, and international organisations active in the fields of youth, education, social entrepreneurship, and green economy to discuss the main topics of youth sustainable development. The event also hosted a networking session, with the aim of connecting organisations and youth and sharing experiences and opportunities.
The event was organised by the EU4Youth: Social Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development (SEED) Programme for Green Growth in Borderline Communities project, which aims to develop the entrepreneurial potential of young people from the EaP region in the field of social entrepreneurship, with a view to contributing to social cohesion, employment, inclusion and reduction of inequalities.
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Today, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, renewed its working arrangement with the Ministry of the Internal Affairs of Georgia.
Under the revised arrangement, Frontex and Georgia reaffirmed their commitment to work together in dealing with irregular migration and fighting cross-border crime, implementation of technical assistance projects as well as in exchanging information and best practices in the area of border management and return.
“It was in 2008 – more than a decade ago - that the first Working Arrangement between Frontex and the Georgian authorities was signed. I am confident that the new framework for cooperation will allow us to achieve further progress towards securing borders and addressing common challenges, which call for a coordinated response,” said Frontex’s Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.
The working arrangement was renewed to reflect the strengthened mandate of Frontex and will lead to a better response to today’s operational needs in the area of border management in full respect of fundamental rights.
Hundreds of Georgian experts have taken part in Frontex-led trainings and capacity building activities such as the Eastern Partnership IBM Capacity Building Project as well as participated in Frontex operational activities as observers.
“I am glad that the working arrangement signed today will serve as a firm legal basis for our future successful cooperation, the positive result of which goes beyond the existing relations of the two agencies and represents an important phase in Georgia-EU cooperation”, said Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri.
The document was signed during a virtual ceremony by Frontex’s Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri and Georgia’s Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri. The virtual ceremony was also attended by the Director General of DG HOME Monique Pariat, Acting Director-General of DG NEAR Maciej Popowski and Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia H.E. Carl Hartzell.
Press Release of the EU Delegation to Georgia
Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze met the Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia, Ambassador Janos Herman. Along with important issues relating to co-operation between Georgia and the EU, the sides discussed the introduction of visa-free travel with the EU. It was emphasised that final decisions will be adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council in the near future and the procedures for granting visa-free travel to Georgia will be soon finalized.
Discussions also focused on the negotiations regarding the new association agenda due to start in October 2016. Mikheil Janelidze emphasised that the Georgian Foreign Ministry will continue to discuss the new Association agenda with representatives of public sector in order to ensure their maximum engagement.