On 9th May the European Union and its member states mark Europe Day, which commemorates the historic 1950 Schuman declaration. This speech, made in the ruins of World War II, laid out a vision of cooperation between European nations that would lead to the European Union as we know it.
Today, with 27 Member States and almost 446 million people, the EU marks the 70th anniversary of this declaration. The theme of 2020 Europe Day is Stronger Together, highlighting the need for solidarity particularly in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
To mark 9 May, Europe Day EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell has issued a statement:
“Today, exactly 70 year ago a new vision for Europe was presented, that would put an end to wars and conflict in favour of cooperation and peace. It may have sounded utopic at the time, but has since become a reality through the creation and building of the European Union.
Unfortunately, this year we cannot mark Europe Day together, as in previous years, because of the pandemic. Georgia has in many respects done better than others in tackling this challenge – thanks to strong political resolve, the support of a truly professional healthcare team and a dedicated population. Still, we recognize the hardships currently experienced by so many Georgians, whether for health or economic reasons. My thoughts go out to all those who are suffering today.
It is in times of crises when you need your partners and friends the most: it is said that “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. I am therefore proud to say that the European Union, its Member States and financial institutions, have stepped up to this challenge as Team Europe, sending a strong message that our friendship goes beyond words. That we are friends indeed. Through hard work and political will, we have managed to mobilise an unprecedented 1.5 billion Lari to help Georgia getting through the current health crisis, and standing better prepared to tackle the economic and social challengeGeorgia – where hospitality and solidarity are deeply ingrained in the national identity – knows how to value a friend. Let me thank you for the kind expressions of compassion that our Member States and citizens have received from Georgia over recent weeks.
This is going to be a tough year for Europe, and a tough year for Georgia – but together we are stronger and together we will prevail.
Take care of your beautiful country and take care of each other! GILOTSAVT EUROPIS – DRHESS (გილოცავთ ევროპის დღეს)“.
In the past over 100,000 people have taken part in large scale Europe Day celebrations in Tbilisi and the regions. This year to maintain this spirit, on May 9 the European Union Delegation to Georgia will launch a social and broadcasting media information campaign which you can follow here: https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanUnioninGeorgia.
Historically, cooperation and solidarity between the EU member states has resulted in over 60 years of unprecedented peace and prosperity on the European continent. In this current crisis, this solidarity is equally visibile when the EU and its Member States provide each other hospital beds or announced EU wide financial support measures.
This solidarity also spreads beyond the borders of the European Union and to key partners. In the past weeks, the EU has committed almost 1.5 billion GEL to help manage the crisis in Georgia. These funds will go to medical equipment, support to vulnerable groups most impacted by the crisis, and financial assistance for economic recovery. Almost 2/3 of this money is grant funds, the remaining comes as loans with extremely favourable conditions.
This cooperation is another step in the very close relationship between the EU and Georgia. The EU remains Georgia’s main donor, Georgia businesses have received access to the EU market, and over 500,000 Georgians have travelled without a visa free to Schengen countries. More EU programmes are active in Georgia than ever before, with over 7000 students have taken part in university exchanges, or over 40,000 Georgian business having received support from the EU.
More on EU-Georgia cooperation here
For any further information, please contact:
EU Delegation to Georgia
EU4Georgia III Strategic Communication Lead