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.
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 visible 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 traveled 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.