Batumi International Conference to kick off Monday
2021 Batumi International Conference will kick off today in a hybrid format due to the ongoing pandemic.
The main spotlight is on the upgraded level of cooperation between the three EU Associated Partners – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – recently formalized as the Associated Trio, the organizers said.
The three Partners are determined to accelerate the reforms envisaged by their respective Association Agreements with the European Union that contain provisions on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas and prepare the next stage of their European integration.
“The panel will discuss possible interests of the EU to engage further in the enhanced integration process with the three Eastern European partners. Also, deliberate more on the European enthusiasm of the three countries while also reflecting on how the new format will complement the future of the Eastern Partnership,” the statement reads.
Charles Michel and the presidents of Moldova and Ukraine will participate in today’s Conference.
European Union and Georgia hold Strategic Security Dialogue
The fifth high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue took place on 25 January 2023 in Tbilisi. It reflected the strong level of commitment by both parties to take cooperation forward, including on foreign and security policy, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
The parties highlighted the historic importance of the decision of the European Council of 23 June 2022 to recognise the European perspective to Georgia.
The participants discussed the consequences of the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008, including the conflict dynamics in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. They called on the Russian Federation to fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire Agreement.
They also highlighted the important role of the EU Monitoring Mission for peace and security in Georgia, and underlined the necessity of ensuring the full implementation of its mandate. The European Union reaffirmed its unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
The meetings of the high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue are held once a year and cover issues of common interest in the field of foreign and security policy.
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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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Ilia Darchiashvili has met with the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of the European External Action Service
On 24 January 2023, a meeting was held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Ilia Darchiashvili, and the Deputy Secretary General/Political Director of European External Action Service, Enrique Mora. He visited Tbilisi on 25 January as part of the Georgia-EU high-level strategic dialogue on security issues.
Discussions focused on current issues and priority areas of the Georgia-EU cooperation agenda. The sides highlighted the historic decision of the 2022 European Council to recognize Georgia's European perspective, which formally opened the country's path to EU membership. Special attention was paid to the importance of strengthening the Black Sea connectivity between Georgia and the European Union and the role of Georgia in strengthening the energy security of the European Union.
At the meeting, special attention was paid to the security challenges and the risks, which, taking into account the current geopolitical background, are an acute problem in the region. The European Union once again emphasized its strong support for the territorial integrity of Georgia within the internationally recognized borders and its readiness to continue its active involvement, including the functioning of the monitoring mission, which is the only international mechanism on the ground. The parties also emphasized the importance of continuing joint efforts, which will contribute to the process of Georgia's accession to the European Union and ensure the strengthening of peace and stability in the region.
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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