Tag Archives: Georgia

Simplified procedures, reduced waiting times, modern infrastructure and equipment, improved security – these are only a few of the many advantages that the new border-crossing point (BCP) in Bagratashen will provide to ordinary citizens of Armenia and tourists travelling from Armenia to Georgia.
14937437_1149055855148342_5298925730231118127_nThe official opening of the newly constructed Bagratashen border checkpoint took place on 4 November 2016, attended by a variety of representatives from state border management bodies, international organisations, and members of the diplomatic corps and media. Key attendees included Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, a delegation headed by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Head of Cooperation Section of the European Union Delegation in Armenia Hoa-Binh Adjemian and Head of the Regional Representation of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the South Caucasus Sebastiaen Husson de Sampigny, UN Permanent Coordinator in Armenia and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Permanent Representative in Armenia Bradley Busetto. This ceremony was organised through the EU-funded and UNDP-implemented “Modernisation of Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan Border Crossing Points of Armenia” (MBBG) project. After the opening, participants toured the facility.
The main objective of this EU-supported MBBG project has been to promote free movement of people and goods across the border, ensuring border security, improving bilateral and regional cooperation, and modernising the three checkpoints at Bagratashen, Bavra and Gogavan. This modernisation has been in accordance with the requirements of Armenian law, international standards and principles, as well as the principles of comprehensive border administration.
14947825_1149054925148435_7735196230274237844_nAdjemian spoke about EU border-management projects: ‘The European Union funds numerous inter-related programmes at all Armenian border posts with Georgia and Iran. We support the creation of an e-governance single window, finance physical and IT infrastructure, provide training, and ensure best practice exchange. Today, we are witnessing the impact of the European Union’s cooperation efforts in Bagratashen. Armenian citizens can now cross this border point in a faster, more secure and more efficient manner. Trade has been facilitated and will support further economic and social development, thus benefiting Armenian citizens and the entire region’.
De Sampigny commented on the EIB’s involvement in infrastructure in the region: ‘EIB supports, as the EU bank, the Armenian government’s key priority of fostering the development of crossing points between Armenia and Georgia, such as Bagratashen, to comply with increased demand for smoother flows of people, vehicles and goods in terms of quality and capacity. This new, modern infrastructure will have positive implications in the standards of everyday life of citizens, will increase security, and will improve trade across the whole region’.
BCP modernisation is expected to raise the living standards of local populations in the shorter term, i.e. through jobs created by construction, and also in the longer term, i.e. jobs to permanently man the checkpoints and other cross-border economic activities. BCP modernisation will also address additional issues surrounding communication and transportation.

14909935_1149056208481640_8401055379771448800_n

Potential gains from updated BCPs are not limited to business alone. The ability to move across borders freely and easily, and to engage in small-scale cross-border trade is vitally important to local border communities, increasing livelihood opportunities and access to services. The EU and UNDP have worked together to ensure modern and streamlined procedures and trained 700 border officials in search techniques, profiling, dealing with refugees, and fighting drug trafficking.
The EU’s affiliate European Investment Bank (EIB) has extended a 30.8 million Euro loan to the Government of Armenia for financing of the project, which was complemented by a 17.6 million Euro grant from the European Union.

The EU received 40 project proposals following its Armenia-Georgia call for proposals for joint cross-border projects. 8 winners were announced and signed grant contracts for implementing joint cross-border projects on 25 September 2015.
The winning projects are aimed at finding joint solutions to common social and economic development challenges in the border regions of Armenia and Georgia. These challenges include economic development, in particular attracting investment to Kvemo Kartli in Georgia and Tavush in Armenia, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, improvement of solid waste management, development of innovative cross-border tourist routes, and natural resource conservation in Samstkhe-Javakheti in Georgia and Shirak in Armenia. Additionally, specific focus has been paid to youth issues: civic education, youth employment and strengthening relations among teenagers from Gyumri in Armenia and Bolnisi in Georgia.
The EU has allocated €1.35 million to Armenia-Georgia territorial cooperation. Among the winners, four grant contracts were awarded each to Georgian and Armenian development partners for cross-border regional development.
ARS_8808The Representative of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Monika Papyan, spoke about the difficulty of the grants process: ‘I want to congratulate all the participants and winners of the programme. I remember when in the beginning when we were thinking about whether the project would be successful or not. Now we see that all the effort was worth it. I know how difficult the programme was for all the applicants, because the EU’s requirements are very high – it was not easy for all the applicants in the beginning, especially for the winners’.
On 23-24 September introductory training was provided to the successful applicants. The trainees learned practical tips for grant contracts and project implementation methodology, financial and procurement rules, visibility and communication issues, and reporting and monitoring requirements, as well as specific the national requirements of the two countries. Grantees enjoyed individual consultations on grant-management issues.
Vache Terteryan, the Armenian First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations, expressed his support for the grants process: ‘This project has a history – we worked together with our colleagues from Georgia, as well as people form the regions where we are going to implement the projects. After the signing ceremony, the start of the projects will be announced and I have no doubt that all of them will be successful. We hope that we will have other similiar projects beacuse these kind of projects are the best way to integrate into the European family’.
ARS_8949The Armenia-Georgia territorial cooperation programme has been the first of four programmes in the Eastern Partnership to launch a grants competition and identify winning projects.
The goal of the Eastern Partnership territorial cooperation programme is to create a favourable environment for territorial cooperation along the borders of Moldova-Ukraine, Armenia-Georgia, Azerbaijan-Georgia and Belarus-Ukraine with due regard to the specifics of each border area.

A meeting between Wilhelm Molterer, Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Hovik Abrahamyan, the Armenian Prime Minister, took place on 16 March 2015 at the Prime Minister’s office.
ARS_4046The meeting was in the presence of Ambassador Traian Hristea, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia.
The meeting was followed by a signing ceremony of 3 agreements between Armenia and the EU First of them was the €10 million loan agreement for the “Caucasus Electricity Transmission Network” project, which was signed by Molterer and Gagik Khachatryan, the Armenian Minister of Finance, followed by a memorandum of understanding signed by Molterer, Ambassador Hristea, Yervand Zakharyan, the Armenian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jan Blum, the Director of the Department of Energy and Transport at KfW German Development Bank. The final document signed was a contribution agreement on Armenia’s membership in the “Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership Fund” (“E5P”). This was signed by Andres Land, Director of E5P at EIB, and Minister Zakharyan.
ARS_4181A press conference was held after the official signing ceremony with the participation of Ambassador Hristea, Zakharyan, Molterer, and Blum. Zakharyan and Molterer introduced the agreement for the “Caucasus Electricity Transmission Network” project. The EIB is lending €10 million to finance the construction of an electricity transmission line and a high-voltage direct current station to develop a link between Armenia and Georgia. This new electricity infrastructure will deepen regional integration by facilitating energy trade between the two countries, and provide Armenia and Georgia with better access to European electricity markets.
The project consists of the construction of a new back-to-back station in Ayrum (Armenia), close to the Georgian border, and a power transmission line linking the two countries. It is designed to provide secure and economically efficient coverage for growing electricity demand.
ARS_4385The project is also being supported by a €85.2 million loan from lead financier KfW German Development Bank, on behalf of the German government, a €10 million grant from the EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF), and the Armenian (€1.5 million) and Georgian (€6.6 million) governments.
Zakharyan stressed the importance of the signed documents: ‘Three important documents concerning the energy sector were signed, aimed at developing infrastructure in the energy sector and increasing energy efficiency. The Armenia-Georgia high-voltage transmission line will contribute to the interconnectivity between the two countries’ networks, as well as parallel operation with and integration into regional energy grades, which will facilitate economic development for both Georgia and Armenia. The third document is Armenia’s membership in the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership Fund, which allows additional funding for energy efficiency in the forms of soft loans and grants. This will be channelled to energy-efficiency improvement in the communities of Armenia and elsewhere. The documents signed today are extremely important for the Republic of Armenia’.
Mr Molterer also talked about the signed documents: ‘This is a really very important step, because it marks an important linkage between Armenia and Georgia, improving the capacity for positive regional development. It is important because energy efficiency is one of the priorities of the Government of Armenia, and we are more than happy to support this priority. Additionally, this is important because it shows what the EU can offer to countries like Armenia, because the joint initiative between the EIB and the European Commission is a real value of what we can provide. It shows the ability, the readiness and the capacity of international financial institutions to cooperate’.
Ambassador Hristea stated that the EU was one of the first international financial institutions, which supported the energy sector in Armenia in 1996: ‘This is an important day for EU-Armenia cooperation and an excellent occasion for the EU to reaffirm its commitment to supporting the Armenian energy sector and reforms. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are very important for the EU’s development activities in Armenia and it shows the EU’s willingness, as well as its support to Armenian citizens and authorities, to ensure their energy security and their energy independence’.
DAV_1336Earlier on the same day Serzh Sargsyan, the President of Armenia, met with Molterer and Ambassador Hristea. President Sargsyan expressed the hope that Molterer’s visit would give a new impetus to Armenia’s cooperation with the EIB, which is directed at ensuring stable economic growth in Armenia. Sargsyan praised the bank’s mission and current activities in Armenia, expressing satisfaction with the active and effective cooperation with the EIB. He also stressed that, taking into account the economic importance of the sectors financed by the bank and its current portfolio, EIB was as a strategic partner for Armenia. Molterer too expressed satisfaction with the bank’s cooperation with Armenia since 2007, emphasising that it set a good example for other working partners.

The signing of a loan agreement took place on 9 December at the Armenian Ministry of Finance. Gagik Khachatryan, on behalf of the ministry, representatives of KfW bank and “High Voltage” CJSC signed an agreement for a €85.2m loan; €75m will be provided by the KfW bank and another €10.2m by the Federal Republic of Germany for the primary stage of the “Caucasian energy supply network I” project.
Armenian and Georgian energy supply systems will be unified within the framework of the project through the village of Ayrum on the border between the two countries. The respective renovation works will lead to the synchronisation of Armenian and Georgian power supply systems and better import/export systems for surplus/scarce electricity.
IMG_0043
Apart from the signed agreement a €10m co-funding loan will be provided by the European Investment Bank and another €10m worth grant through the European Union Neighbourhood Instrument. This will make the total budget allocated within the framework of the project €105.2m due to two “High Voltage” CJSC is the main beneficiary of the project and will receive the allocated loan and grant funds.