EU and Georgia celebrate Europe Day
Stronger with the EU
Today, on 9th May the European Union and its member states mark Europe Day, which celebrates peace and unity in Europe.
The date commemorates the historic 1950 Schuman Declaration, in which Robert Schuman, the then French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable.
These ideas paved the way for the creation of European Communities, and eventually the European Union as we know it today, with 27 Member States and almost 450 million people. This year, the EU marks the 71st anniversary of this declaration.
Europe Day is also a celebration of the close relationship between the EU and Georgia. The theme of 2021 Europe Day in Georgia is ‘Stronger with the EU’, highlighting the enduring EU-Georgia partnership, shared values, and solidarity, particularly in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
This year, to highlight Europe Day and the close EU-Georgia partnership the following events are scheduled:
On May 9, at 17:00 the EU Delegation will broadcast on its social media channels a unique performance of the Georgia and EU anthems performed by the Evgeni Mikeladze Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra and its Music Director and Principal Conductor Nikoloz Rachveli. More than 100 musicians participated in the performance including Guram Kurashvili State Choral Chapel of Abkhazia and its chormaster Zviad Bolkvadze, young phenomenon pianist and composer Tsotne Zedginidze, students from the Zakaria Paliashvili Central Music School – “School for Gifted Children” and many others;
The performance will be followed by official statements by EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell, President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili and Chairperson of the Parliament, Kakhaber Kutchava.
In addition, representatives of 19 EU member states in Georgia and development partners have issued a separate joint video message as Team Europe.
Finally, in the evening of May 9 and 10 landmarks throughout Georgia will be illuminated with EU colours, including in Akhaltsikhe, Batumi, Gori, Kutaisi, Mestia, Mtskheta, Oni, Ozurgeti, Rustavi, Telavi, Tbilisi, Zugdidi.
The EU stands by Georgia in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and the EU and Team Europe have mobilised around GEL 1.5 billion of new and reallocated assistance to help Georgia deal with the COVID-19. Almost 2/3 of this amount is grants, the remaining are loans at favourable interest rates. That is one of the highest levels of EU assistance per capita to any country in the world and demonstrates the EU’s strong solidarity with Georgia at this time of unprecedented crisis.
EU-Georgia cooperation programmes
The EU has supported Georgia for over 25 years, and is Georgia’s largest donor. Today the EU has over 200 active projects in Georgia with a total value of almost €500 million. These programmes focus on Georgia’s economic development, strengthening of institutions, protection of the environment and people to people contacts.
For example, Georgian businesses have received access to the EU market, and over 7000 students have taken part in university exchanges, and over 40,000 Georgian business having received support from the EU.
More on EU-Georgia cooperation here: https://bit.ly/2SKDbTm
In the past over 100,000 people have taken part in large scale Europe Day celebrations in Tbilisi and the regions.
An ever closer relationship
The EU-Georgia relationship is based on the EU –Georgia Association Agreement (AA) which, together with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), entered in force in 2016 and foresees Georgia’s far reaching political, economic and social integration with the EU.
The EU-Georgia visa liberalisation agreement was adopted in December 2016 and since then over 500,000 Georgian citizens have travelled visa-free travel to the Schengen zone. This agreement brings the people of Georgia and the EU closer together as well as strengthens tourism and business ties.