Georgian capital hosts int'l conference "Glory to Ukraine"
A two-day international conference named Glory to Ukraine has kicked off in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, gathering former US diplomats, regional experts, civic activists, and business representatives.
The 6th conference, hosted by the George W. Bush Institute, the McCain Institute for International Leadership, and the Centre for Economic Policy Research, will focus on Russia’s offensive on Ukraine and the West’s reaction; geopolitical consequences of military aggression; unrest in the region; the war impact on the future of Europe and Russia’s next moves.
The conference aims for Georgia to keep its priority place in the world and transatlantic agenda, to promote democratic progress and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
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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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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SHALVA PAPUASHVILI: THE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO YET AGAIN SHOW THEIR SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE
"The Parliamentary Delegations will have the opportunity to yet again show their support for Ukraine on the International Crimea Platform”, - the Speaker, Shalva Papuashvili, who, attending the First Parliamentary Summit of the International Crimea Platform in Croatia along with the Parliamentary Delegation, stated.
According to the Speaker, Georgia is well aware of what Russian aggression means and how important it is to respond appropriately from the international community.
"As for our delegation and my speech, based on the experience of Georgia, we will focus on the meaning of Russian aggression, possible improper response of the international community at the time, and the correct response to Russian aggression. We are a country that has experienced Russian aggression several times and we know very well what the right reaction should be. Based on our experience, we will dwell on what solidarity with Ukraine should mean”, - Shalva Papuashvili stated.
The Speaker is expected to address the participants of the session of the First Parliamentary Summit of the International Crimea Platform.
43 delegations of 32 parliaments, 5 international parliamentary organizations and 26 parliament chairpersons are participating in the Platform.
As part of the visit, bilateral meetings of the Speaker and the Parliamentary Delegation are also scheduled.
The Parliamentary Delegation of Georgia is composed of the Vice Speaker, Archil Talakvadze and the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Nikoloz Samkharadze.
EBRD commits up to €3 billion to Ukraine
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will commit up to €3 billion over 2022-2023 to help Ukraine’s businesses and economy keep functioning.
On a visit to Kyiv, EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of the Bank’s determination to support Ukraine while it defends itself against Russia’s aggression.
Since the invasion began in February, the EBRD has committed more than €1 billion, and aims to triple that figure by the end of 2023. Its primary focus will be to support the “real” economy – maintaining energy and food security, restoring rail infrastructure, and supporting the pharmaceutical industry.
EBRD investment has already been made into Ukraine’s electricity company Ukrenergo, as well as providing up to €500m liquidity support for ‘Naftogaz’, the country’s main gas supplier. Discussions are also underway to scale up funding for urgent repairs of the electricity grid and to support municipal authorities in Kyiv, Lviv and Dnipro, says the EBRD.
EBRD investments are backed by donors or guarantors from EU and G7 countries, including the US. Norway recently pledged €200m in support.
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EU supports cybersecurity in Ukraine with over €10 million
The EU will spend €10 million on strengthening cyber security in Ukraine until February 2023.
The ‘EU Support to Strengthen Cyber Security in Ukraine’ project lasts from March 2022 and is implemented by the E-Governance Academy from Estonia (EGA).
The project focuses on three main areas that mainly affect the delivery of public services in Ukraine online and offline. First, the EU supports Trembita’s secure data exchange platform and the management of public registries, including identifying and neutralising possible cyber threats. Second, the EU helps protect critical infrastructure and public data, including the replacement of destroyed equipment. Third, the EU provides security tools to enable operational staff to maintain and service critical public infrastructure.
“We are grateful to the EU for supporting Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Our digital state that consists of both Diia mobile application and Diia web portal continues to serve and help citizens, meanwhile government data is secured,” said Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.
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