Visa Waiver Regulation for Georgian Citizens Signed
EU agrees to provide an additional €500 million for arms supplies to Ukraine
EU foreign ministers have agreed to allocate an additional €500 million from the European Peace Facility for arms supplies to Ukraine. This will bring the total amount of the EU military support to Ukraine to €2 billion. At the same time, however, ministers failed to agree on a sixth package of sanctions against Russia and an oil ban, EU High Representative Josep Borrell reported last night.
The EU High Representative was speaking after the EU Foreign Affairs Council that was joined by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.
Borrell noted that the €2 billion in military support was “just the tip of the iceberg”, because Member States “do a lot from their side without asking for refunding”.
Borrell also said the EU has to help Ukraine to keep producing and exporting grains and wheat via the already established initiative ‘Solidarity Lanes’. “The storage capacity of Ukraine is full, because they cannot export this grain and they need to empty this storage capacity in order to be able to receive the next crop. So, we are working on how to help them to take this grain out by train,” added Borrell.
Regarding sanctions, he said: “We will continue imposing sanctions on Russia to make the cost of invasion unbearable for the Kremlin. We continue discussing. Unhappily today, it has not been possible to reach an agreement to finalise the 6th sanctions package. The issue will go back to the COREPER and [EU] Ambassadors will continue discussing. We are with the same difficulties about unanimity on the oil ban.”
EU ministers also met over lunch with the six foreign ministers of the Western Balkan countries to discuss their path to the European Union. “Ministers expressed their clear expectation towards the partners as future Member States, to commit to European values and to the European foreign policy. Those who have not yet done so – and Serbia is one of them – should, as soon as they can, step up their alignment and implement sanctions [against Russia],” Borrell said, adding the European Union’s partner countries could not remain neutral in the current situation: “To maintain close ties with [Vladimir] Putin’s regime is no longer compatible with building a common future with the European Union. Both things at the same time are not compatible. Being neutral today, with respect to the Ukrainian war, is a false concept.” He also said that the EU intends to support its “partners in order to mitigate the effects of this upcoming crisis”.
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Georgian Parliament in your phone: EU helps to set up application
The EU has helped to create the Geo Parliament smartphone application.
The app will be useful for all those who want to be more involved in the activities of the Georgian parliament, read draft laws, make comments or have online communication with any member of parliament.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
EU announces new aid worth €200 million for displaced people
The European Commission today announced a new aid package of €200 million to support displaced people in Ukraine, in the context of the International Donors’ Conference convened jointly by Poland and Sweden.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today we came together with a clear purpose: to support the brave people of Ukraine, who fight the aggressor and stand up for their freedom. We are now in the 10th week of Russia’s brutal invasion. Ten weeks during which the European Union stood firmly by Ukraine. Today, the European Union answered the call, once more, to support Ukraine. On behalf of the European Commission, I pledged €200 million for Ukraine. And last month, during a pledging event, we raised €9.1 billion for Ukrainians inside and outside Ukraine. We know that more will be needed. And we will continue to stand up for Ukraine.”
Close to 8 million people, two-third of whom are children, have been internally displaced since the beginning of Putin’s war in Ukraine. More than 5.3 million have left Ukraine to seek shelter in the EU and neighbouring countries.
The European Union has been supporting the Ukrainian people from the very beginning of Russia’s brutal invasion, mobilising the EU’s economic power, with series of sanctions designed to drain the resources used by Putin to finance his war.
On the other hand, the EU has already channelled around €4 billion in macro-financial assistance, humanitarian aid and support to Member States welcoming refugees from Ukraine.
Now, the European Commission stands ready to help rebuild the country after the war. Yesterday, President von der Leyen proposed to start working on an ambitious recovery package. It should bring the massive investment needed to rebuild, implement reforms and make Ukraine an attractive place for investments.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
World Press Freedom Day: EU urges Russia to stop attacks on journalists
On the eve of World Press Freedom Day tomorrow, EU High Representative Josep Borrell has congratulated brave journalists, camera crews, reporters, photographers and bloggers on behalf of the EU, saying that they are “risking their lives to keep us informed about Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine”.
“Russian forces are detaining, abducting or kidnapping and targeting journalists and civil society actors to prevent the world from hearing the truth,” J. Borrell said. “We strongly urge the Russian Federation to immediately stop such attacks and practices.”
According to the Council of Europe platform for the protection of journalism and safety of journalists, ten Ukrainian and international media workers have already been killed, and many others were wounded.
J. Borrell said the safety of journalists was an EU priority,adding that the EU is providing emergency support to media outlets and journalists covering the war in Ukraine, including psychological support, helmets and other protective equipment, as well as financing to cover salaries.
“By reporting from the front lines and shedding light on the gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Russian armed forces, journalists importantly contribute to counter disinformation and information manipulation surrounding the invasion,” said J. Borrell. “They play a crucial role in ensuring that these atrocities do not remain unpunished.”
J. Borrell also noted the courage of independent journalists in Russia and Belarus, who are trying to convey accurate information about Russian aggression against Ukraine.
EU-UNICEF juvenile justice programme in Georgia: over 5,600 children and young people diverted from prosecution
Over a decade, as many as 5,600 children and young people aged between 14 and 21 have been diverted from prosecution, as a result of eleven years of work by the Diversion and Mediation Programme, reported at a conference organised by the Ministry of Justice and UNICEF, with the support of the European Union.
The conference was held in the framework of the project ‘Strengthening Child Protection Systems and Services in Georgia’, aimed in particular at developing the capacity of professionals at central and municipal levels to support and protect children and families in Georgia.
Diversion is an alternative mechanism to criminal proceedings and a major cornerstone of the juvenile justice system. According to the Juvenile Justice Code, diversion is the priority measure, which means that, if a juvenile commits an offense, the use of diversion should be considered as a first priority.
According to experts, the Diversion and Mediation Programme, introduced in 2010, has made major progress in Georgia, making a significant shift from a zero-tolerance policy to restorative justice and rehabilitation. Since 2014, the programme has included those juveniles who have committed not only minor offences but also serious crimes.