Borrell: EU members ‘will reach agreement’ on new sanctions package against Russia
European Union members will reach an agreement on a new sanctions package against Russia, including imposing restrictions on Russian oil imports, during the ongoing summit in Brussels, EU High Representative Josep Borrell said in an interview with France Info today.
“We need to decide unanimously. There were tough talks yesterday afternoon, as well as this morning. I think that this afternoon, we will be able to offer to the heads of the member states an agreement,” said Borrell.
European Union governments have so far failed to reach agreement on an embargo on Russian oil. “We have to take the individual circumstances of everybody into account,” Borrell said.
He added that an EU-wide solution should give the three countries which accounted for 7% to 8% of Russian oil imports – Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia – “more time to adjust”.
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Statement on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November)
This joint statement is issued by the United Nations system in Georgia, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the Council of Europe Office in Georgia, the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia and the Embassies to Georgia of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we would like to join hands with survivors, activists, decision-makers, and people from every walk of life to take a bold stand against this global scourge.
Stigma and impunity have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions. Across the world, as well as in Georgia, violence against women and girls remains one of the most pervasive and latent human rights violations, both a cause and a consequence of gender inequality and discrimination.
A world where violence against women and girls is not just condemned but stopped is possible. It can and must be prevented.
As highlighted in the GREVIO baseline report on Georgia published on 22/11/2022, over the past decade, Georgia has made significant progress towards effectively addressing the shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls by putting in place a comprehensive policy and legislative framework, producing data and strengthening institutions to effectively enforce the laws. Moreover, specialized services for survivors such as shelters, crisis centres and a hotline have been created, and law enforcement has been specialized to handle cases in a more sensitive and qualified manner. Importantly, there have been positive shifts in public perceptions and an increase in survivors’ trust in the justice system and services.
Despite these significant measures taken to tackle gender-based violence in Georgia, women continue to die as a result of these atrocious crimes. Often, femicide represents the continuum of other forms of violence experienced by women and girls. Sexual violence also persists in Georgia, with an extremely low number of reporting and respective cases reaching the courts. The persistent patriarchal norms and deeply entrenched stereotypes in Georgian society tend to blame victims and condone violence against women and girls.
We call for the strengthening of a holistic national framework to prevent all forms of violence against women and girls in Georgia. Efforts should be translated into concrete actions through the necessary legislative measures by, inter alia, amending the definition of rape in the Criminal Code of Georgia to ensure compliance with the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention and other international standards, as well as by exercising due diligence to prevent (including through integrating the issue into the general education programmes), investigate, punish, and provide reparation for acts of violence. Building and strengthening an enabling environment for women’s economic, political, and social empowerment is paramount.
Since everyone has a pivotal role to play in tackling violence against women and girls, we remain steadfast in our determination to support the Government of Georgia, civil society, and other partners to ensure that the inalienable right of women and girls to live a life free from violence is observed and enjoyed for the benefit of everyone.
European Commission proposes unprecedented support package for Ukraine – up to €18 billion for 2023
The European Commission today proposed an unprecedented support package for Ukraine of up to €18 billion for 2023. These funds will be provided in the form of highly concessional loans to be repaid in regular instalments starting in 2033.
“This stable, regular and predictable financial assistance – averaging €1.5 billion per month – will help cover a significant part of Ukraine’s short-term funding needs for 2023, which the Ukrainian authorities and the International Monetary Fund estimate at €3 to €4 billion per month,” says a press release from the European Commission.
Thanks to this package, Ukraine will be able to keep on paying wages and pensions and keep essential public services running, such as hospitals, schools, and housing for relocated people. It will also allow Ukraine to ensure macroeconomic stability, and restore critical infrastructure destroyed by Russia in its war of aggression, such as energy infrastructure, water systems, transport networks, roads and bridges.
The funds will be provided through highly concessional loans, to be repaid in the course of maximum 35 years, starting in 2033. The EU also proposes to cover Ukraine’s interest rate costs, through additional targeted payments by Member States into the EU budget.
EU Member States and third countries will also be able to add more funds to the instrument, to be used as grants, should they wish to do so. The funds will then be channelled through the EU budget, allowing Ukraine to receive the support in a coordinated manner.
The MFA+ instrument will be accompanied by reforms to help Ukraine advance on its path to becoming a member of the EU. This means that the Ukrainian government will have to complement the financial support with sectoral and institutional reforms, including anti-corruption and judicial reforms, respect of the rule of law, good governance, and modernisation of the national and local institutions.
The Commission’s proposal will need approval by the European Parliament and EU Member States in the Council before entering into force.
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EU and EBRD support issue of US$80 million green bond on Georgia’s capital market
The European Union and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have announced the first winner who will receive a grant through their capital market support programme.
Georgia Renewable Power Operations’s (GRPO) US$ 80 million green secured bond will become the largest transaction, as well as the first ever green bond issued on Georgia’s capital market.
The company will receive a contribution from the European Union to co-finance issuance related fees, and the support mechanism will be implemented by the EBRD.
“I believe the programme will catalyze green and sustainable bond issuances in the country and incentivise renewable energy developers to align with high Environmental, Social and Governance standards. We are extremely proud to be pioneers in this regard and to contribute towards the development of the Georgian renewable energy sector,” said Nuka Mshvidobadze, GRPO’s chief financial officer.
The EU-funded Capital Market Support Programme aims to facilitate capital market development in Georgia, through the implementation of educational activities as well as the support mechanism.
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EU urges Georgian authorities to ensure highest legal standards in cases against media owners
The European Union has urged the Georgian authorities to ensure the highest legal standards in cases against media owners.
Reacting to the Tbilisi Court of Appeal decision to uphold charges against Nika Gvaramia, Director General of one of the TV channels in Georgia, including the sentence of 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment, the EU said that it has been monitoring this case closely.
“The European Union does not comment on the merits of individual Court cases, but we note once again that questions have been raised, including by the Public Defender, in relation to this case,” says a press release by the European Union External Action Service.
The press release also reminds that the European Union remains committed to supporting Georgia in addressing all 12 priorities in order to live up to the European aspirations of its citizens.
In this respect, the EU recalls that “stronger efforts to guarantee a free, professional, pluralistic and independent media environment, notably by ensuring that criminal procedures brought against media owners fulfil the highest legal standards” represent one of the priorities identified by the European Commission.
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EU helps open Arbitration and Mediation Centre to support Armenian businesses
On 20 October, the EU-supported Arbitration and Mediation Centre started operating in Armenia. The vision and statutes of the new organisation were presented at the launch event in Yerevan.
“The EU advocates and supports the introduction of alternative dispute resolution measures in Armenia, with a particular focus on arbitration. It plays an important role in helping to find quick and fair solutions to complex cases facing the business world,” said Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia.
The event was also attended by representatives of the Armenian Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank of Armenia, diplomatic missions, international organisations, international and local experts in arbitration.
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