European Commission adopts new package of measures to reinforce impact of sanctions against Russia
The European Commission today adopted a proposal for a new package of measures to maintain and strengthen the effectiveness of the EU’s six wide-ranging and unprecedented packages of sanctions against Russia.
Today’s “maintenance and alignment” package clarifies a number of provisions to strengthen legal certainty for operators and enforcement by Member States. It also further aligns the EU’s sanctions with those of its allies and partners, in particular in the G7. Importantly, the package reiterates the Commission’s determined stance to protect food security around the globe. The measures also include a ban on the import of Russian gold.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine continues unabated. Therefore, we are proposing today to tighten our hard-hitting EU sanctions against the Kremlin, enforce them more effectively and extend them until January 2023. Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression.”
EU High Representative Josep Borrell added: “Today’s package reflects our coordinated approach with international partners including the G7. In addition to these measures, I will also present proposals to Council for the listing of more individuals and entities, with their assets frozen and ability to travel curtailed.”
Today’s package will introduce a new import ban on Russian gold, while reinforcing dual use and advanced technology export controls. In doing so, it will reinforce the alignment of EU sanctions with those of the G7 partners. It will also strengthen reporting requirements to tighten EU asset freezes.
The package also reiterates that EU sanctions do not target in any way the trade in agricultural products between third countries and Russia. Likewise, the text clarifies the exact scope of some financial and economic sanctions.
Finally, it is proposed to extend the current EU sanctions for six months, until the next review at the end of January 2023.
The package will now be discussed by Member States in the Council in view of its adoption.
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EU to extend sanctions against Belarus and Iran for supporting Russian war against Ukraine, says von der Leyen
The European Union will extend its sanctions, announced in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine, to those who militarily support Russia’s war, such as Belarus or Iran. This was announced by the Head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at a press conference today following the signing of the Third EU-NATO Joint Declaration on Cooperation.
“The European Union will keep doing everything in its power to support the brave people of Ukraine. We will keep the pressure on the Kremlin for as long as it takes with the biting sanctions regime,” said von der Leyen. “We will be coming forward with new sanctions on Belarus answering Belarus’ role in this Russian war in Ukraine.”
She also confirmed that the EU will continue its “substantial humanitarian economic and Security Assistance to Ukraine as long as it is necessary”.
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EU welcomes initiative to lay submarine cable under Black Sea
The EU will be ready to provide financial support for the Black Sea Energy submarine cable project, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on 17 December, attending the signing in the Romanian capital Bucharest of a memorandum of understanding between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania, which envisages the laying of an underwater electricity cable across the Black Sea.
Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement would bring the European Union closer to its partners in the South Caucasus region, and would help both regions achieve the clean energy transition. “Since the beginning of Russia’s war, we have decided to turn our back on Russian fossil fuels and to diversify towards reliable energy partners, like the partners here around the table. And it is working,” said the European Commission President.
She added the initiative would reinforce energy security in Europe and bring new opportunities to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine: “This project could bring Georgia, a country with a European destiny, great benefits as well. It could transform the country into an electricity hub and integrate it in the EU internal electricity market. Finally, the Black Sea electric cable could also help bring electricity to our neighbours in Moldova and the Western Balkans, and of course to Ukraine – it will help start rebuilding Ukraine’s energy system and the reconstruction of the country.”
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Irakli Garibashvili: By connecting electricity transmission lines and power energy systems of Georgia, Romania, Azerbaijan and Hungary, Europe may not only connect to Georgia, but to the entire region of South Caucasus
Georgia’s strategic geographic location makes us a natural bridge between the West and the East, serving as a gateway for eight landlocked countries of South Caucasus and Central Asia; a crucial link on EU’s Global Connectivity map and a game changer, when it comes to diversification of transport routes and energy supply to Europe. It was announced by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Plenary Session on Strategic Partnership for Green Energy Development and Transmission held in Romania today.The Head of Government of Georgia delivered a key-note speech at the Plenary Session on Strategic Partnership for Green Energy Development and Transmission held at the Cotroceni Palace of Romania and spoke about the new quadrilateral agreement along with other leaders participating in the milestone event.The Prime Minister of Georgia noted that present geopolitical challenges and the war in Ukraine has made the need for diversification and resilience even more imperative, in order to address urgent challenges of energy security.The Head of Government of Georgia expressed his gratitude to the Romanian side for organizing and hosting the historic event, while thanking Ursula Von Der Leyen, President of the European Commission for her support towards the project.„I am pleased to address the distinguished audience at today’s important gathering. At the outset, I would like to thank the Romanian side for hosting and organizing this event, which has a historical importance. I also thank Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission for supporting the project.Present geopolitical challenges and the war in Ukraine has made the need for diversification and resilience even more imperative, in order to address urgent challenges of energy security. Georgia’s strategic geographic location makes us a natural bridge between the West and the East, serving as a gateway for eight landlocked countries of South Caucasus and Central Asia; a crucial link on EU’s Global Connectivity map and a game changer, when it comes to diversification of transport routes and energy supply to Europe.With this in mind, we have made connectivity a top priority, with a special vision of connectivity of the Caucasus region and Europe. We are investing in expanding and modernizing our energy, digital and transport infrastructure; we are bringing these sectors in line with the EU norms and standards according to the commitments under the AA/DCFTA, Common Aviation Area Agreement and within the Energy Community. Extended TEN-T core network and the EaP Economic and Investment Plan provide important tools to facilitate investments in the strategic projects that have national and the wider regional value as well” noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.According to the Head of Government of Georgia, by connecting the power systems of Georgia, Romania, Azerbaijan and Hungary, Europe will be able to connect not only with Georgia, but with the entire South Caucasus region.As Irakli Garibashvili noted, being a credible transit partner, Georgia has been a key link for the delivery of hydrocarbon resources via major regional energy transit routes from the Caspian Sea basin to the West.The Prime Minister of Georgia also stated that implementation of this project transforms the strategic partnership into a new dimension.“Dear Friends, a few years ago, with the initiative of Georgia, work started on the project, which envisages the connection of the electric energy systems of the Caucasus region and Europe by means of a high-voltage underwater power transmission line. Today, by signing the “Agreement on Strategic Partnership in the field of Green Energy Development and Transmission between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary” we are confirming the readiness of our countries to cooperate closely in terms of “green energy” supply.As you may be well aware, Georgia has substantial potential for power generation surplus from renewable energy sources that it can supply to neighboring countries. Today, we have the appropriate infrastructure for electricity supply to all our neighbors, except Europe, The Black Sea Underwater Electricity Transmission Cable holds an important prospect to this end. Project will support development of the renewable energy sector and increase transit opportunities/back-to-back trade options between the EU and South Caucasus Region. As a result of this project implementation, by connecting the power systems of Georgia, Romania, Azerbaijan and Hungary, Europe will be able to connect not only with Georgia, but with the entire South Caucasus region.In June 2020 the World Bank prepared a report on Preliminary Economic Analyses of the Black Sea Submarine Cable project, which proved that the above-mentioned project is economically viable.On April 26 of 2021, GOG announced a request for expression of interest for the feasibility study of the Black Sea underwater electricity transmission cable and digital line construction project. The selection was carried out in accordance with the World Bank Procurement Procedures. As the result of selection, the winner has been identified. The feasibility study commenced on May 11 of 2022 and will be implemented during an 18 months’ period.To this end, I should emphasize that strengthening the interconnections and energy transit capabilities of the region is of strategic importance for my Government. Being a credible transit partner, Georgia has been a key link for the delivery of hydrocarbon resources via major regional energy transit routes from the Caspian Sea basin to the West.The implementation of this project, opens a new dimension for the development of strategic partnership between our countries and once again let me reiterate, that Georgia having huge potential for production and export of renewable energy, will contribute to the strengthening of Europe’s energy security” added Irakli Garibashvili.Prior to the plenary session, the President of Romania held a Greet and Welcome Ceremony at the Cotroceni Palace for the leaders of countries that are signatories to the Agreement on Strategic Partnership of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary for the Development and Transmission of Green Energy.The Head of Government of Georgia is visiting Romania with a Delegation, consisting of Levan Davitashvili, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia; Ilia Darchiashvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia; Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia and Revaz Javelidze, Head of Government Administration.Press Service of the Government Administration
European Commission proposes ninth package of sanctions against Russia
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced its proposal for a ninth package of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday evening.
The Commission proposes to add almost 200 additional individuals and entities to the EU’s sanctions list. This includes the Russian armed forces, as well as individual officers and defence industrial companies, members of the State Duma and Federation Council, ministers, governors and political parties. “This list covers key figures in Russia’s brutal and deliberate missile strikes against civilians, in the kidnapping of Ukrainian children into Russia, and in the theft of Ukrainian agricultural products,” says the press release by the Commission.
Secondly, the Commission proposes to introduce sanctions against three additional Russian banks, including a full transaction ban on the Russian Regional Development Bank “to further paralyse Putin’s cash machines”.
Third, the Commission suggests imposing new export controls and restrictions, particularly for dual-use goods. This includes key chemicals, nerve agents, electronics and IT components that could be used by the Russian war machine.
Fourth, the sanctions will cut Russia’s access to all sorts of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles. The Commission proposes to ban the direct exports of drone engines to Russia and the export to any third countries, such as Iran, which could supply drones to Russia.
Proposed economic measures against the Russian energy and mining sector include a ban on new mining investments in Russia.
Ursula von der Leyen also said that the Commission aims to target the Russian propaganda machine by taking four additional channels off the air and all other distribution platforms.
She added that this package comes on top of the full EU import ban on Russian seaborne oil that came into force this week, as well as the global oil price cap agreed between the G7.
“Russia continues to bring death and devastation to Ukraine,” said von der Leyen. “We stand by Ukraine and we are making Russia pay for its cruelty.”
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Grain from Ukraine: European Commission pays to ship 40,000 tons of Ukrainian grain via two boats
On 26 November, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the European Commission would pay for the transportation of 40,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain on two ships, as part of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative.
This will be on top of the 28 million tons of agri products shipped via the EU’s Solidarity Lanes and the Black Sea Grain Initiative, von der Leyen added.
Ukraine launched the ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative at the International Summit on Food Security, organised in Kyiv on the anniversary of the Holodomor, the starvation of millions of Ukrainians caused by Soviet policies in 1932-33.
“90 years after the Holodomor, we honour the memory of Ukraine’s victims. They died in silence, starving to death, and, at that time, the world did not rise to help them. We will not let this happen again,” said von der Leyen. “Today, Russia is again using food as a weapon.
As part of its brutal aggression against Ukraine, Russia has destroyed your agricultural production, targeted your grain silos, and blockaded your ports.”
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