Representatives of the Eastern Partnership countries, meeting at a conference in Tbilisi, have confirmed their common willingness to boost closer links between border regions and launch territorial cooperation programmes. The priorities, objectives, and mechanisms of the Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Programme (EaPTC) were the main topics at the international conference in the Georgian capital held to mark the launch of the new programmes.
For the first time, more than 160 representatives of central and regional authorities, civil society organizations and independent experts from all six Eastern Partnership countries gathered to mark the start for the territorial cooperation grant programmes, under which border regions will have the opportunity to get EU funds for joint projects aimed at finding joint solutions to common regional development challenges.
The budget of the EaPTC programme is split among the four programmes as follows:
- Armenia-Georgia €1.35 million
- Azerbaijan-Georgia €1.35 million
- Belarus-Ukraine €3.3 million
- Moldova-Ukraine €3.3 million
The Conference revealed the readiness of the participating countries to launch applications for programme grants. The Armenia-Georgia programme is the first to reach the threshold of the Call for Proposals: cooperation partners have already endorsed the priorities of territorial cooperation and approved the Joint Operational Programme.
Tengiz Shergelashvili, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, said at the meeting: “The Georgian side welcomes the start of territorial cooperation programmes. We do believe that territorial cooperation will contribute to strengthening neighborhood relations of Georgia with Armenia and with Azerbaijan.”
The event was organised by the EU-funded Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Support Programme (EaPTC Support Programme).
The Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Programme (EaPTC) aims to promote and strengthen cross-border cooperation between regional and local state authorities, communities and civil society organisations over developing joint solutions to common social and economic development challenges in the participating border regions. (ENPI Info Centre)
The Council of the European Union today appointed Ambassador Herbert Salber as EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia. His task will be to contribute to a peaceful settlement of conflicts in the region, a press release said, including the crisis in Georgia and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as to encourage regional cooperation. In particular, the Special Representative co-chairs and participates on behalf of the EU in the Geneva International Discussions on the consequences of the 2008 conflict in Georgia.
Following a senior level career in the German Foreign Service, which included postings in Belgrade, Vienna and Moscow, Ambassador Salber joined the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) where he served inter alia as Head of the OSCE Centre in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and as Director of the OSCE’s Conflict Prevention Centre.
The term of Ambassador Salber as EU Special Representative initially runs until 28 February 2015.
The EU Special Representatives (EUSRs) play an active role in efforts to consolidate peace, stability and the rule of law ion troubled countries and regions. They currently cover Afghanistan, the African Union, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central Asia, Kosovo, the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, the Southern Mediterranean region and Sudan. (EU Neighbourhood Info)