Georgia: Marneuli – last stop for Europe Day festivities in 2018
Last weekend, over 3,000 people gathered in the city of Marneuli, in the Kvemo Kartli region of southern Georgia, for the sixth regional Europe Day organised by the EU Delegation to the country.
Festivities in Marneuli closed the Europe Day activities held in the country this year. In 2018, the EU Delegation to Georgia brought Europe Day celebrations to seven locations: the capital of Tbilisi and six regional towns.
Residents of these towns enjoyed a number of information activities, including for children, to learn about the diverse Member States of the EU and EU-Georgia cooperation. Adults had the opportunity to sample delicious food and find out more about how the EU is helping create more opportunities for Georgian citizens.
Georgia: New Head of EU Monitoring Mission appointed
On 31 January, the Council of the European Union appointed Dimitrios Karabalis, a Greek diplomat, as the new Head of Mission for the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia).
Dimitrios Karabalis is currently Director for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, South Caucasus, and Central Asia at the Greek Foreign Ministry. His mandate as Head of EUMM Georgia will run from 1 February until 14 December 2023.
Karabalis succeeds Ambassador Marek Szczygiel, a Polish diplomat, as Head of Mission.
EUMM Georgia is an unarmed civilian monitoring mission consisting of over 200 monitors from the EU member states, deployed in Gori, Mtskheta and Zugdidi in October 2008, following the conflict between Georgia and Russia.
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EU agrees extra €500 million of military support for Ukraine
The Foreign Council of the European Union reached political agreement for a 7th tranche of military support to Ukraine worth €500 million.
The Council also agreed on an additional assistance measure worth €45 million for the Ukrainian forces being trained by the EU’s military training mission, EUMAM Ukraine. This brings the total military support under the European Peace Facility to €3.6 billion. According to EU High Representative Josep Borrell, the EU’s military, financial, economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine has now reached nearly €50 billion.
Before the Council discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed EU foreign ministers via video conference and briefed them on recent developments on the ground and on Ukraine’s current priorities.
Regarding the creation of an accountability mechanism, EU foreign ministers stressed the importance of preserving the crucial role of the International Criminal Court in international criminal justice and expressed broad support for the establishment of the International Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague as a first step.
Regarding the effectiveness of sanctions, Josep Borrell noted that Russian oil (Urals) sells for US $40 a barrel while Brent sells for US$80. “This means that the Russian oil is being sold at a discount of 50%, and it is being bought by mainly India and China,” said Borrell. “So, it is losing US$40 per barrel. It is a big hit on Russia’s financial stability.”
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EU-supported initiative provides first aid training for 32 kindergarten staff in Telavi
The European Union in Georgia, Denmark, UNDP in Georgia and the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) have helped kindergartens in Telavi municipality of Georgia to organise a first aid training course for their staff.
The initiative covered 32 pre-schools. Two kindergartens received additional support to equip doctors’ offices in their premises.
The importance of these courses is due to the fact that Georgian legislation obliges kindergartens to certify their first aid personnel in order to be allowed to protect children’s health and prevent accidents.
This initiative was selected as part of a grant competition funded by the EU and Denmark to improve management, policies and services in municipalities in Georgia.
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Humanitarian aid: EU increases funding to €1.7 billion for 2023
The European Union has adopted its initial annual humanitarian budget of €1.7 billion for 2023.
EU humanitarian aid helps those affected by natural disasters and military conflicts, including forcibly displaced or trapped populations as well as host communities. Assistance is mainly provided through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
A total of €207.8 million from this budget will be directed to Southeast Europe and the European Neighbourhood, addressing mostly the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, as well as funding projects for ongoing needs in the Caucasus.
Another €141.5 million will be used to answer sudden onset emergencies in 2023, €122 million are reserved for unforeseen humanitarian crises that can arise throughout the year, and €108.2 million will be committed to horizontal activities, innovative projects and policy initiatives.
“Humanitarian needs are rising steeply. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has made a bad situation dramatically worse. Today, the number of people in need of life-saving assistance worldwide is higher than the population of the US,” said Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič. “The European Commission’s funding for 2023 will continue to make sure that humanitarian assistance is available for the most vulnerable, no matter who and where they are.”
Lenarčič also called for a shared responsibility for the entire global community, mentioning that currently only 10 largest donors provide for more than 80% of all humanitarian funding.
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EU to disburse first €3 billion of the €18 billion macro-financial support to Ukraine
Today, the European Union will disburse the first €3 billion of the €18 billion macro-financial support agreed in December. This was announced by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
“Helping Ukraine meet its financing needs to face the Russian aggression is both crucial and urgent,” von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. “The Commission is acting with utmost speed and determination.”
The aim of this emergency assistance is to provide short-term financial relief, financing Ukraine’s immediate needs, rehabilitation of critical infrastructure and initial support towards sustainable post-war reconstruction, with a view to supporting Ukraine on its path towards European integration. The loans will have a 10-year grace period.
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