Georgia has not only been associated to the EU's Framework Programme Horizon 2020 this year. It also has long lasting relations with individual European countries. One of them is Germany. In 2015 both countries decided to celebrate their multi-facetted relationship with the '2017-Germany-Georgia Friendship Year'. This decision was confirmed at a recent meeting of the foreign ministers of both countries, Mikheil Janelidze and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Germany was the first country in the European Community to recognise Georgia under international law after it gained independence in 1991 and to open an embassy in Georgia in 1992. Within the European Union, Germany supports closer ties between Europe and Georgia and the entire region. Germany has strongly advocated including Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and has actively supported the EU’s decision to create an Eastern Partnership.
On 5 May 2015, the German Federal Foreign Office hosted the first meeting of the '2017 Germany-Georgia Friendship Year' steering group. The Group, comprising of well-known Georgian and German experts working in different spheres, discussed the preparatory works for 2017. The then Georgian Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili and German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, acting as the heads of the group, attended the first meeting.
The steering group mapped out joint Georgian-German measures - exhibitions, concerts, film weeks, educational exchange programmes, sporting events, conferences and festivals - to be carried out in 2017 both in Germany and Georgia.
The 'Germany-Georgia Friendship Year' was officially announced after Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili met Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin, Germany on 16 June 2016. The two top officials also agreed Steinmeier would come to Georgia in a reciprocal visit in early July.
This meeting took place only two weeks later, on 1 July. As the Federal Foreign Office reports, Georgia's current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mikheil Janelidze and German Foreign Minister not only took part in the opening of the 25th session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, but also talked about the '2017 Germany-Georgia Friendship Year'.
Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia | Federal Foreign Office (Germany)
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(general information - research structure - research policies - international cooperation) (URL: https://increast.eu/_media/Georgia_Country_Report_EN_2016.pdf)