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Why independent media matter for the SDGs

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an excellent entry point into media development, UNESCO’s Guy Berger told a meeting at the OECD recently.

He was addressing a meeting on 31 January titled “Confronting the crisis in independent media: strategic approaches for international donors”. It was convened by Swedish donor agency SIDA and the Centre for International Media Assistance based in the USA.

The UNESCO director for freedom of expression and media development highlighted how the 2030 development agenda underlined the importance of partnerships in SDG 17 and the importance of access to information and fundamental freedoms in SDG 16.

These two goals pointed donors to ways they could help deal with the sustainability of independent media, which is a sector facing unprecedented attacks as well as major business problems.

“SDG 16.10 on public access to information and fundamental freedoms cannot be achieved without independent media which can help in achieving all SDGs – whether gender equality, climate change eliminating poverty, reducing inequalities, and sustainable cities,” noted Berger. He referenced a discussion paper on this subject produced jointly by UNDP and UNESCO.

“In the spirit of SDG 17, coalitions, especially with internet-related issues, are crucial for media development because multi-stakeholder actors bring different propositions to the cause,” said Berger. Amongst actors like the media, journalism schools and civil society, a big contribution to media development can be made by foundations, governments and intergovernmental organizations like UNESCO, he added.

Berger said that the imperative of media development needed action at two levels: first, building independent media institutions as the foundation for journalism; and second, creating an enabling environment for such media through putting in place appropriate law, economic policy and technology.

“We have to get it right with these two – both the media institutions and media environment – if we want to have journalism play its role for democracy and sustainable development.”

In current times, argued Berger citing a recent UNESCO publication, journalism is especially important as:

  • A truth-seeking alternative to disinformation and misinformation, because its professional verification standards can debunk lies and fabrications;
  • A vehicle for exposing the weaponization of information and investigating its orchestration and financing.
  • A watchdog to highlight the roles of Internet companies which mediate communications in regard to search, social media and social messaging.

“The supply of journalism through strong media institutions and a truly enabling environment needs to be supported more than ever,” said Berger.

The UNESCO director also urged international donors to give attention to the “demand side”, referring to the audiences who consume, share and comment on the news. “Unless these people are empowered to be active agents, they risk being passively manipulated by communications,” said Berger.

Media and Information Literacy (MIL) is UNESCO’s antidote to such manipulation, he stated. “These competencies are essential if people are to recognise journalism, and distinguish it from advertising, propaganda, and gossip.

“With MIL, the public can demand, cherish and support journalism as a reliable resource for individual and group decision-making as we strive for sustainable development,” he concluded.

UNESCO

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III Eurasian Research On Modern China And Eurasia Conference

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December 3-4, 2021, Russian-Armenian University.

Address: Russian-Armenian University, 123 Hovsep Emin St, Yerevan 0051

Organized by: “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Foundation, Armenia and Russian-Armenian University, Armenia.

Supported by: Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Armenia

December 3, 2021

Registration (10:30 Yerevan Time)

Welcome Address and Opening Remarks (11:00-12:00)

Prof. Dr. Armen Darbinian (Rector of Russian-Armenian University).

H. E. Mr. Yong Fan (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of PRC to the Republic of Armenia).

H.E. Ms. Zheng Wei (General Secretary of The Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization). (Via ZOOM). (Please follow translation from Russian to English via Zoom Link).

Dr. Mher Sahakyan (Director of “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia)

Family Photo of Conference Speakers and Special Guests, Reception (12:00-12:40)

Plenary Session (12:50-14:05)

Prof. Dr. Heinz Gärtner (Chair, Advisory Board, International Institute for Peace; Professor, University of Vienna; Chair, Advisory Committee for Strategy and Security Policy of the Scientific Commission at the Austrian Armed Forces, Austria)/Keynote Speech/. (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Zheng Yuntian (Director, World Socialism Institute and Assistant Director of BRI Research Center, Renmin University, China), /Keynote Speech/ (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Emilian Kavalski, (Inaugural NAWA Chair Professor, Complex Systems Lab in the Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Poland; Book Series Editor, Routledge’s “Rethinking Asia and International Relations” series), /Keynote Speech/. (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Süha Atatüre (Head of the Department of International Relations, Istanbul Gedik University, Turkey), /Keynote Speech/. (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Sergey Lukonin (Head, Sector of Economy and Politics of China, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences), /Keynote Speech/. (Please follow translation from Russian to English via Zoom Link).

Moderator: Dr. Mher Sahakyan (Director, “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia).

Panel 1. (14:10-15:25) Great Powers’ Competition in Eurasia in the Era of Changing World Order

Dr. Gina Panagopoulou (University of Piraeus, Greece), “Great Powers, Eurasia and the Pacific: The Two Pillars of the World – the Golden Apple of Discord.” (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Nirmal Jindal (Delhi University, India) “China and Eurasia in the New World Order․” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Seven Erdogan (Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, Turkey), “The Implications of the Common Choice for Multilateralism of the European Union and China for the Multipolar World in the Making.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Sebastian Contin Trillo-Figueroa (2020/2021 Asia Global Fellow, AsiaGlobal Institute, University of Hong Kong), “Seeking Strategic Sovereignty: The forthcoming Sino-European relationship within the Indo-Pacific.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Daniel Shapiro (Harvard University ‘20, U.S. Fulbright Student Research Fellow, US), “Great Power Competition in Eurasia: China’s Rise in the South Caucasus and its Effects on American Interests.”

Mr. Mateusz Ambrożek (PhD Candidate, University of Warsaw, Poland), “Equal Distance but not Hedging: Maintaining Equilibrium by Japan under US-China Competition.” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Dr. Ruben Elamiryan (Chairperson and Associate Professor at the Department of World Politics and International Relations of Russian-Armenian University, Executive Officer of IPSA RC41 – Geopolitics).

Panel 2. (15:30-16:55) Eurasia and Belt and Road Initiative

Dr. Christopher B. Primiano (KIMEP University, Kazakhstan) and Dr. James Paradise (Yonsei University, South Korea), “A Parallel Order: China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a Hub and Spoke System.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Maria Smotrytska (International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, Austria), “China’s Nordpolitik: Toward a New Logistics Order in the North.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Connor Judge (Ashoka University / Harvard-Yenching Institute / International Foundation for Education and Research China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship), “Mongolia in China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Receptivity and Connectivity.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Shabnam Dadparvar (Tianshui Normal University, China), “China-Azerbaijan Relations within the Framework of BRI; Opportunities and Constraints.” (Via ZOOM).

Mrs. Shanjida Shahab Uddin (Research Officer, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Bangladesh), “Bangladesh in the Belt and Road Initiative: Strategic Rationale and Future Implications.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Dmitry Erokhin (Research Assistant, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, PhD Candidate, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria), “Determinants and Gaps in Chinese Outward Foreign Direct Investment in Belt and Road Initiative Countries.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Asantha Senevirathna (Senior lecturer, Sir John Kotelawala University, Sri Lanka), “China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Sri Lanka: A Geopolitical Perspective.” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Zheng Yuntian (Director, World Socialism Institute, and Assistant Director of BRI Research Center, Renmin University of China).

Coffee/Pasties (17:00-17:20)

Panel 3. (17:25-18:25) China and the Middle East

Dr. Davoud Gharayagh-Zandi (Shahid Beheshti University, Iran), “China’s Strategic Development and Foreign Policy in the Middle East in the Second Decade of 21st Century: The Whys and the Wherefores.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Ozan Örmeci (Istanbul Kent University, Turkey), “Sino-Turkish Relations and The Belt and Road Initiative.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Haila Al-Mekaimi (Kuwait University, Kuwait), “China and the GCC: A Strategic Partnership.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Hussein Talal Maklad (Dean, Department of International Relations and Diplomacy, Al-sham Private University, Syria), “China’s Strategy Towards Syria”.

Moderator: Dr. Artur Israyelyan (Vice rector for International Cooperation and Public Relations, Yerevan State University).

Panel 4. (18:30-19:55) China, Central Asia, and South Caucasus

Dr. Marina O. Dmitrieva and Mr. Zakhar V. Davydov (Far Eastern Federal University, Russia), “Prospects for Multilateral Cooperation in Central Asia.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Sudhir Singh (University of Delhi, India), “Indian Perception of China- Central Asian Relationship.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Devendra Kumar (PhD Candidate, University of Hyderabad, India), “Domestic Drivers of China’s Central Asia Policy.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Sun Chao (Centre of International Studies, Jiangsu Administration Institute, China), “Semi-Presidentialism and Political Stability:A Reflection on Political Transition in the Caucasus.(Via ZOOM).

Dr. Salome Danelia (Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia), “Peculiarities of Innovative Development of Economy in Georgia.” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Mariam Topakyan (PhD Student, Faculty of International Relations, Yerevan State University), “China and South Caucasus: New Perspectives and Challenges”.

Moderator: Dr. Gevorg Melikyan (Lecturer, Russian-Armenian University; Assistant to the President of the Republic of Armenia).

__________________________________________________________________________________________

December 4, 2021

Coffee/Pasties (10:30-11:00)

Plenary Session: (11:00-11:25)

Prof. Dr. David Arase (Honorary Professor, Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong and Resident Professor, Hopkins-Nanjing Center of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies) /Keynote Speech/. (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Mrs. Lara Setrakian (Co-founder and CEO of News Deeply, Journalist, Entrepreneur & Impact Investor).

Panel 5. (11:30-12:35) China’s Cybersecurity Issues and Digital Silk Road

Prof. Dr. Annita Larissa Sciacovelli (University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy), “EU – China Cybersecurity Cooperation.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Anahit Parzyan (Executive Director, “Nork” Social Services Technology and Awareness Center” Foundation, Armenia), “China’s Cyber Diplomacy in Eurasia: Will There be a Match?”

Prof. Dr. Giorgio Caridi (E-Campus University Rome, Italy)“Innovation and digitization of communication: how to skyrocket the BRI in Europe.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Nehme Elias Khawly (PhD Degree, INSEEC, Paris, France), “Revolutionizing Soft Power: The Digital Silk Road in Eurasia and the MENA.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Ruben Elamiryan (Chairperson and Associate Professor at the Department of World Politics and International Relations of Russian-Armenian University, Executive Officer of IPSA RC41 – Geopolitics), “Cybersecurity in NATO and CSTO: Comparative Analysis of Legal and Political Frameworks.” (Via Zoom).

Moderator: Mrs. Lara Setrakian (Co-founder and CEO of News Deeply, Journalist, Entrepreneur & Impact Investor).

Panel 6. (12:40-14:20) Russia-China-India Triangle; Territorial Disputes in South China Sea

Dr. Mher Sahakyan (Director, China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia), “Russian Greater Eurasian Partnership Strategy.”

Dr. Alexander Korolev (Associate Professor, Deputy Head of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics), “Political and Economic Security in Eurasia: IR English School Perspective.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. DAI Weijing (Peking University, China), “Competition for Leadership: China and Russia in Eurasian Integration.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Orazio Maria Gnerre, (PhD Student, University of Perugia, Italy), “The Strengthening of the Sino-Russian Partnership in the World Context.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Vishal Kumar Baswal (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), “The Role of India, China and Russia in Emerging World Order.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Junuguru Srinivas (Gitam University, India), “China and India View on Emerging Global Order: A Comparative Analysis.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Prasanta Kumar Sahu (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), “India- Russia Relations and the Emerging Geopolitics in Eurasia.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Dai Yulong (ShanghaiTech University, China), “Malaysia’s “Flexible Nail” Role in Solving its Territory Disputes with ASEAN Neighbors.” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Dr. David O’Brien (Institute of East Asian Politics, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Panel 7. (14:25-15:35) Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Eurasian Economic Union, NATO. China’s Energy Security

Dr. Mahesh Ranjan Debata (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India),“Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at 20: An India Perspective.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Elżbieta Pron (University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland), “China and International Institutions – the Case of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and China’s Foreign Policy in Central Asia.” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Jayshree Borah (Doctoral Candidate, Shanghai International Studies University, China), “Regional Multilateralism and China: China’s push for SCO as platform for Regional Security Multilateralism?” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Angie Hesham (PhD Student University of Hull, United Kingdom), “NATO Tilt Towards China.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Pavel Barakhvostov (Belarusian State Economic University, Belarus), “The Problems and Prospects of the Eurasian Economic Union at the Present Stage.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Ahmet Faruk ISIK (PhD Student, Shanghai International Studies University and Research Assistant, Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies), “In the Context of Energy Security, Role of The Renewable Energy; Chinese Example.” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Mr. Daniel Shapiro (Harvard University ‘20, U.S. Fulbright Student Research Fellow, US).

Coffee/Pasties (15:40-15:55)

Panel 8. (16:00-16:55) Sino-Russian and Sino-Mongolian Relations: Historical Aspects of Relations

Dr. Oksana Ermolaeva (Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, New Europe College, Romania),(B)order-Making in the Russian/Soviet Empire at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century: East – West Dimension.” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Ulyana Fedorenko (Research Fellow, VSUE, Russia), “China and Russia: An Old Strategic Partnership, but A New Format of Interaction.(Via ZOOM).

Dr. Borjgin Shurentana (Inner Mongolia University, China), “Mongolia’s Relations with China in the Post-Cold War Era: An Analysis from the Perspective of Social Cognition.”

Dr. Zhengji Ju (Nanjing University, China), “Germany, Britain and Russia in Xinjiang?” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Dr. Robert Ghazaryan (Director-Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia).

Panel 9 (17:00-18:25) China and Central and Eastern European Countries; Vaccine Diplomacy; People to People Exchange between China and Eurasia

Dr. Sanja Arezina (Counselor with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Research Associate-Assistant Professor at Belgrade University, Serbia.2020/2021 Asia Global Fellow, AsiaGlobal Institute, University of Hong Kong), “Chinese Relations with Central and Eastern European Countries in a New Era of Global Transformation.”

Mr. Marko Savić and Mr. Todor Lakić (PhD candidates and Teaching Assistants, University of Montenegro),“China and Montenegro: Balancing Between Debt, Vaccines and Diplomacy.” (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Olga Zalesskaia (Blagoveshchensk State Pedagogical University, Russia), “Interregional Interaction Between China and Russia in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: When will the Russian-Chinese Border in the Far East Open?” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Evgenii Gamerman (Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia), “International ‘Covid Diplomacy’ in Eurasia.” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Ani Margaryan (PhD Candidate, Nanjing Normal University, China), “The Chinese Art of Pandemic Period as the Reflection of its Fight Against and Victory Over COVID-19.” (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Song Lilei (Tongji University in Shanghai, China) and PAN Jingke (PhD Student, Heidelberg University, Germany), “The Soft Connectivity between China and Europe:  People-To-People Linkages Should Never Be Ignored.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Nare Haroyan (PhD Degree, Shanghai Normal University, China), “Interpersonal Conflicts between Different Cultural Individuals at Multicultural Workplace. Case Study: China”.

Moderator Dr. Anahit Parzyan (Executive Director, “Nork” Social Services Technology and Awareness Center” Foundation, Armenia).

(18:30) Official Closing Ceremony of the Conference.

Academic Council:

Dr. Mher Sahakyan (Director, “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia. 2020/2021 Asia Global Fellow, AsiaGlobal Institute, University of Hong Kong, China).

Dr. Artur Israyelyan (Vice rector for International Cooperation and Public Relations, Yerevan State University).

Dr. Zheng Yun-tian (Director, World Socialism Institute, and assistant director of BRI research center, Renmin University of China, PRC).

Dr. Konstantin Kurylev (Professor, Department of Theory and History of International Relations of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, founder, and Editor in-chief of the “Post-Soviet Studies” academic journal and Head of the Centre of Post-Soviet Studies, Russia).

Dr. Robert Ghazaryan (Director-Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia).

Dr. Bin Ma (Associate Professor at the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, PRC).

Dr. Ruben Elamiryan (Chairperson and Associate Professor at the Department of World Politics and International Relations of Russian-Armenian University, Executive Officer of IPSA RC41 – Geopolitics).

Dr. Sanja Arezina, (Counselor with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Research Associate-Assistant Professor at Belgrade University, Serbia.2020/2021 Asia Global Fellow, AsiaGlobal Institute, University of Hong Kong).

Dr. Sudhir Kumar Singh (Professor, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India).

Dr. Suha Atature (Professor and Chair of International Relations – Gedik University, Turkey).

Dr. Alexander Korolev (PhD, Deputy Head of Eurasian Sector, Higher School of Economics, Russia).

Dr. Boris Vukićević (Associate Professor-University of Montenegro, Montenegro).

Dr. Varuzhan Geghamyan (Assistant Professor-Yerevan State University, Director-ARDI Institute, Armenia).

Dr. Vakhtang Charaia (Director, Center for Analysis and Forecasting at Tbilisi State University, Georgia).

Dr. Anahit Parzyan (Executive Director, “Nork” Social Services Technology and Awareness Center” Foundation, Armenia).

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About Russian-Armenian University

Russian-Armenian University (RAU) offers a diverse range of undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs. The main language of instruction is Russian; however, we offer courses in Armenian and English as well. Upon graduation, students receive two Diplomas: Armenian and Russian. The University comprises 31 Departments and 8 Institutes. The University prepares specialists with up-to-date knowledge and skill ensuring their place in the competitive job market. RAU is widely recognized for its prominent activity in the regional educational and scientific environment, and it continues to expand its work internationally. The University’s growing international network provides students and lecturers with various opportunities for mobility. At RAU, we have long identified scientific research as our priority. Students of all levels are encouraged to embark on scientific explorations and participate in research conferences. Professors and postgraduate students conduct activities geared towards solving fundamental issues of modern science, their research interests varying from Natural and Computer Sciences to Social Sciences and Humanities. We conduct research at laboratories based within the Institutes of RAU and in cooperation with major Armenian science centers, including the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

Please click the link below to join the webinar and for translation:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86778503993?pwd=MmNGdWw3TUdieUFndm92amVLZVphdz09

Passcode: 850963

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The City of Ideas platform is a unique opportunity to make the city comfortable

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The Moscow City of Ideas platform is a platform where citizens can propose ideas for solving various issues related to the life of the capital and vote for proposals selected by experts.

Ideas with the largest number of votes are implemented in the city. Over the seven years of such projects, more than 270 thousand Muscovites have sent about 112 thousand ideas for the development of urban infrastructure. More than four thousands of them were selected by experts for further study, over three thousand ideas have already been implemented.

The citizens took part in projects like “My Park”, “Electronic House”, “Moscow Central Diameters”, “Moscow child health center”, “Museums of Moscow” and much more. Thanks to the proposed ideas, new public transport routes have appeared, a Moscow standard for children’s recreation has been developed, public service centers, children’s and adult clinics, libraries, and parks have been transformed.

After modernization, the City of Ideas platform has become more user-friendly. Citizens themselves propose suggestions of improving the platform. 12 thousand residents of the capital took part in the project. They proposed with over 600 ideas. The implementation plan included 121 of them, some have already been implemented.

Today, the platform provides short video instructions and materials explaining how to use platform. This will help both beginners and advanced users. Now citizens can submit their ideas directly from the platform’s main page. When sending a photo attached to the text.

The modernization also affected the voting process: the ideas that pass the expert selection will be presented in a single list. You don’t need to go to each page for grading.

And most importantly, the City of Ideas platform today has a modern design. These changes were suggested and supported by the citizens.

This service is available to individuals, representatives of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs.

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EU Politics

Commission proposes to strengthen coordination of safe travel in the EU

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European Commission has proposed to update the rules on coordination of safe and free movement in the EU, which were put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the summer, vaccine uptake has increased significantly and the EU Digital COVID Certificate has been rolled out successfully, with more than 650 million certificates issued to date. At the same time, the epidemiological situation in the EU continues to develop with some Member States taking additional public health measures, including administering booster vaccines. Taking into account all those factors, the Commission is proposing a stronger focus on a ‘person-based’ approach to travel measures and a standard acceptance period for vaccination certificates of 9 months since the primary vaccination series. The 9 month period takes into account the guidance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the administration of booster doses as of 6 months, and provides for an additional period of 3 months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can adjust and citizens can have access to boosters.

The Commission is also proposing updates to the EU traffic light map; as well as a simplified ‘emergency brake’ procedure. 

The Commission is also proposing today to update the rules on external travel to the EU [press release available as of 14:15].

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, the Commission has been fully active in finding solutions to guarantee the safe free movement of people in a coordinated manner. In light of the latest developments and scientific evidence, we are proposing a new recommendation to be adopted by the Council. Based on our common tool, the EU Digital COVID Certificate, which has become a real standard, we are moving to a ‘person-based’ approach. Our main objective is avoid diverging measures throughout the EU. This also applies to the question of boosters, which will be essential to fight the virus. Among other measures, we propose today that the Council agrees on a standard validity period for vaccination certificates issued following the primary series. Agreeing on this proposal will be crucial for the months ahead and the protection of the safe free movement for citizens.”

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety added:  “The EU Digital COVID Certificate and our coordinated approach to travel measures have greatly contributed to safe free movement, with the protection of public health as our priority. We have vaccinated over 65% of the total EU population, but this is not enough. There are still too many people who are not protected. For everyone to travel and live as safely as possible, we need to reach significantly higher vaccination rates – urgently. We also need to reinforce our immunity with booster vaccines. Taking into account the guidance from ECDC, and to allow Member States to adjust their vaccination campaigns and for citizens to have access to boosters, we propose a standard acceptance period for vaccination certificates. At the same time, we have to continue to strongly encouraging everyone to continue to respect public health measures. Our masks need to stay on.”

Key updates to the common approach to travel measures within the EU proposed by the Commission are:

Focus on a ‘person-based approach’: a person who has a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate should in principle not be subject to additional restrictions, such as tests or quarantine, regardless of their place of departure in the EU. Persons without an EU Digital COVID Certificate could be required to undergo a test carried out prior to or after arrival.

Standard validity of vaccination certificates: To avoid diverging and disruptive approaches, the Commission proposes a standard acceptance period of 9-month for vaccination certificates issued following the completion of the primary vaccination series. The 9 month period takes into account the guidance of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the administration of booster doses as of 6 months, and provides for an additional period of 3 months to ensure that national vaccination campaigns can adjust and citizens can have access to boosters. This means that, in the context of travel, Member States should not refuse a vaccination certificate that has been issued less than 9 months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination. Member States should immediately take all necessary steps to ensure access to vaccination for those population groups whose previously issued vaccination certificates approach the 9-month limit.

Booster shots: As of yet, there are no studies expressly addressing the effectiveness of boosters on transmission of COVID-19 and therefore it is not possible to determine an acceptance period for boosters. However, given the emerging data it can be expected that protection from booster vaccinations may last longer than that resulting from the primary vaccination series. The Commission will closely monitor newly emerging scientific evidence on this issue. On the basis of such evidence, the Commission may, if needed, propose an appropriate acceptance period also for vaccination certificates issued following a booster.

The EU traffic light map is adapted: combining new cases with a region’s vaccine uptake. The map would be mainly for information purposes, but would also serve to coordinate measures for areas with particularly low (‘green’) or particularly high level (‘dark red’) of circulation of the virus. For these areas, specific rules would apply by derogation from the ‘persons-based approach’. For travellers from ‘green’ areas, no restrictions should be applied. Travel to and from ‘dark red’ areas should be discouraged, given the high number of new infections there, and persons who are neither vaccinated nor have recovered from the virus should be required to undergo a pre-departure test and quarantine after arrival (with special rules for essential travelers and children under 12 years old).

Exemptions from certain travel measures: should apply for cross-border commuters, children under 12 and essential travellers. The list of essential travellers should be reduced as many travellers included in the current list have had the opportunity to be vaccinated in the meantime.

Simplified ‘emergency brake’ procedure: the emergency procedure intended to delay the spread of possible new COVID-19 variants or address particularly serious situations should be simplified and more operational. It would include a Member State notification to the Commission and the Council and a roundtable at the Council’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR).

To allow for sufficient time for the coordinated approach to be implemented, the Commission proposes that these updates apply as of 10 January 2022.

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