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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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
MEETING OF THE CO-CHAIRS OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL TURKMEN-RUSSIAN COMMISSION ON ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Today, on November 15, 2022, a meeting was held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan between the co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Turkmen-Russian Commission on Economic Cooperation, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov and Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation A.Overchuk.
At the beginning of the meeting, the importance and productivity of today's meeting of A.Overchuk with the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov was noted, during which the guidelines for further promotion of multifaceted cooperation between the two countries were determined.
The co-chairs of the commission discussed in detail the prospects for partnership in the financial and banking sector, the oil, transport, electric power industries, as well as in the areas of education, culture, healthcare and tax administration.
Also, issues of preparation for the upcoming 12th meeting of the joint commission in Moscow on December 6-7 this year, on the sidelines of which it is planned to sign more than ten bilateral documents in various fields, were considered separately.
Further, the meeting continued in an expanded format with the participation of heads and representatives of a number of relevant ministries and agencies of Turkmenistan and Russia, within which the above mentioned topics were discussed in more depth.
Discussing cooperation in the field of education and culture, the parties expressed the need for further intensification of mutual actions in order to expand humanitarian cooperation. In particular, the importance of implementing projects for the creation of the Turkmen-Russian University and the construction of a new building of the Russian Drama Theater named after A.S.Pushkin in Ashgabat was noted.
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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