Belarus-EU: hopes, expectations, and reality
by Elena Daneiko What do Belarusians hope from cooperation with the EU, what is expected and are there reasons to expect more? ‘Europe as a historical homeland of Belarus’ For Valentin Akudovich, Belarusian philosopher and writer, author of a book &lsqu...
There is no alternative for European prospect in Armenia
by Davit Alaverdyan Although Armenia declared its commitment to European values as far back as in the 90s, joining the Council of Europe in 2001 and other European organizations later, Armenia has no shortage of people trying to undermine the said commitment. Some of them oppose Eur...
Azerbaijan and the European Union: 25 years of cooperation and vision for the future
by Elena Ostapenko In 2016, Azerbaijan and the EU are celebrating their 25th anniversary of collaboration: their first contacts date back to 1991 in the framework of the technical assistance programme to the Commonwealth of Independent States - TACIS. The foundation of thei...
Georgia’s bid to be a European neighbour
by Tamar Khurtsia It is now quite widely believed that Georgia’s European integration is irreversible, and that Europe is where Georgia belongs. Yet people in Georgia still often ask each other what are the benefits of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement (AA), signed in June ...
Becoming more European comes with a price
by Denis Cenusa Over the past decade, European integration has become a permanent source either for inflaming false debates, or for spreading exaggerated expectations among the Moldovan public. With the encouragement of the visa-free regime with the EU, the number of Moldovans visi...
Money from Brussels - target or tool? How Ukraine should not lose EU aid
by Sergiy Sydorenko In early 2012, a scandal flared up in Ukraine. The European Union announced the suspension of sectoral aid, which for the previous 15 years had been granted to Kyiv. Diplomats informally explained: Brussels had a reason to believe that the European grant in the f...
Belarus: European universities open up for Belarus students
Belarus remains the only European state, which has not joined the Bologna Process, aimed at the creation of a single European space for university education. For about 400,000 students from Belarus – unlike their peers from Europe, Russia, Ukraine and even Kazakhstan – academic mobility ...
Moldova: pesticides, a dangerous heritage
After the fall of the Soviet Union, many of the successor states discovered a dangerous heritage on their territories: warehouses storing (mostly) unusable pesticides and chemical fertilizers. According to estimates by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the reserves of outdated weather-...
Georgia: Healthy cattle means a healthy livelihood
Causing big losses to livestock farming and posing a risk to humans, cases of brucellosis are heavily affecting some areas of Georgia, a country where more than half the population is employed in the agriculture sector. A project implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and funded ...
Georgia: Protecting shepherds to fight against climate change
Among Georgia’s 35 reserves and parks, the Vashlovani Protected Area is the only territory that plays home in winter to large herds of sheep from the Tushetian Mountains. Over the centuries, these pastures have been used without any regulation, which has led to a substantial deterioration of t...
Belarus: a new opportunity for young mothers and their kids
In recent years, domestic violence has reached the point of being a real issue in Belarus, due to social problems, growing unemployment, alcohol and drug consumption and also because of the loss of family support structures. The NGO SOS – Children’s Village Belarus has set up a Centre wh...
Azerbaijan: moving forward with housing reform
Since Azerbaijan gained independence, up to 95% of the multi-family housing stock has been privatized. But in people's opinion the privatization involves only the flats, and not the multi-apartment buildings. Due to lack of funding, the most buildings are now in very poor condition, still offi...
Armenia: Customs - cutting down waiting times to a third
Armenia and Georgia share a land border of 225km: three crossing points – Bargatashen, Gogavan and Bavra – connect the two countries. The traffic grows every year, but the checkpoint facilities remain the same. With the support of a € 61 million project mostly financed by the ...
Moldova: Water is life - let’s improve it
Water quality has an immediate impact on people’s lives. Thanks to the European Union and the European financial institutions, over €60 million have been provided to Chisinau to support the modernisation of its water and wastewater infrastructures, which are seriously outdated. This is ex...
A regional Internet hub along the historic Silk Way
The Azeri government is paying plenty of attention to the IT sphere, hoping that the rapid development of the sector can transform Azerbaijan into a bridge between Europe and the countries of Central Asia and the Middle East. The launch of a Data Centre in Azerbaijan, as well as the laying of ...
Cooperatives, the new way to agriculture
While nearly half of the population in Georgia derives most of its income from agriculture, the sector actually contributes less than 10% to GDP. This is mainly due to the low efficiency of production, caused mainly by the scarcity of owned lands and the limited exposure to modern farming methods. W...
Giving troubled teenagers a second chance
Research conducted in 2006 showed around 600 to 700 adolescents in Azerbaijan were being taken to court each year for committing crimes. Many of them were convicted of minor offences and served their sentence in a closed ‘colony’ for juvenile offenders. Funded by the EU and support...
With high water comes high responsibility
When disaster strikes, it is usually too late to prepare for it and the only thing left to do is deal with the consequences. Disasters are best dealt with when citizens, rescue services and volunteers can cooperate with each other, because the behaviour and participation of individuals are key to em...
Helping vulnerable families grow healthy
Growing more healthy crops sounds simple enough, but for several displaced families in Armenia’s Ararat province with no agricultural knowledge or experience, this hardly seemed like an attainable goal. However, thanks to the EU funded Rural Income Generation project, since 2011 a number of re...
We have a big fire here, we need help
There has been a major accident at a chemical plant in Belarus, and forest fires are raging through the region. Neither Belarus nor Ukraine can cope with the disaster alone, rescuers are badly needed to face the emergency: so Belarus is now asking for help... Fortunately the event is not real, it is...
Moldovan honey conquering the EU market
Honey is one of the few Moldovan products that is steadily increasing its share of the European market. The country produces around 4-5,000 tons of honey annually. Experts are convinced that within a short period Moldova can at least double its honey production and exports. An EU Neighborhood ...
‘Silk Wind’ train: next stop, the future
It’s a high-speed container block train, which will allow cargo transportation from China to Southern Europe via the shortest possible route. It’s the ‘Silk Wind’ train, and once all the infrastructural projects that surround it are completed, it will be possible to go from w...
Azerbaijan - Wasting less to gain more
What does it mean for a company to invest in advisory services? The Baku-based Sama furniture plant has transformed its business and established a sound management system with clear duties and job descriptions, ad hoc departments, transport and delivery planning and much more. Thanks to the Bu...
Ukraine - Fairy tales to heal family wounds
They came from orphanages, foster families and deprived backgrounds. Twenty eight teenagers from four different countries gathered in the coastal village of Koblevo, Ukraine, for a ten-day workshop aimed at helping them overcome their uneasiness, teaching them the social skills they need to live and...
Directors across borders
Even though art is considered to stand above time and politics, history proves that it needs to adapt to major social change. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the cinema industry in all Eastern Partnership countries - including Armenia - was left with Soviet traditions and without Soviet fund...
A pearl of world heritage is back on the map
The ancient Greek city of Chersonese, which overlooks modern Sevastopol in Crimea, is back on the world’s heritage maps. For two thousand years the colony founded by Dorian Greeks was the major political, economic and cultural centre of the northern Black Sea region. It survived across the cen...
A chance of a future in your own country
In Moldova, less than 40% of the people are employed in their own country: a shortage of jobs and low salaries force Moldovans to look for work elsewhere. An EU-supported project provides information and gives qualified Moldovan migrants and students the opportunity to return home and to reintegrate...
Photo Youth – the art of crossing borders
Taking pictures to overcome the borders of their disability: hundreds of disadvantaged children have joined the PhotoYouth project, a cross-border initiative implemented between Russia and Latvia. This EU-funded initiative has brought together 250 young photographers and 50 teachers from 22 correcti...
Interview with Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni – EU and Council of Europe combine strengths to help eastern neighbours consolidate reforms
The European Union has already for some time been supporting political and democratic transformation in its eastern neighbourhood through the unique expertise of the Council of Europe (CoE). The latest example is the Eastern Partnership Facility, an instrument that helps partner countries to bring t...
Cutting down on energy costs? Yes, you can
The old wooden windows were replaced, a new steam boiler was installed, and even the light bulbs were changed. New, modern equipment was also purchased. At lonel, the largest clothes producer in Moldova, the innovations did not only result in a direct reduction of energy consumption. They also incre...