US Embassy:The creation of scapegoats and fighting them in order to maintain power is a repeating strategy of dictators
The creation of scapegoats and fighting them in order to maintain power is a repeating strategy of dictators, reads the statement released by the US Embassy in Georgia.
According to the statement, dictators are also known for repeating each other's mistakes. Putin tells his people that the entire civilized world is their enemy and that only he stands on the path to truth. Putin’s enemies are pregnant women, whom he bombs inside maternity wards, small children and elderly people who sing to each other in shelters to find comfort, and people who choose freedom.
European Commission releases €1.5 billion in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine
Today the European Union is providing another €1.5 billion to Ukraine under its annual macro-financial assistance package.
The European Commission made today a third payment of €1.5 billion under the Macro-financial Assistance (MFA)+ package for Ukraine, worth up to €18 billion.
This support will help Ukraine cover its immediate financial needs: to continue paying salaries and pensions and to maintain basic public services such as hospitals, schools and housing for the displaced. 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.
Today’s payment comes after the Commission found that Ukraine continued to make satisfactory progress to strengthen the rule of law, enhance financial stability, improve the functioning of the gas system and promote a better business climate.
This finding will also enable the disbursement of two further monthly payments of €1.5 billion each in May and June.
Overall, since the start of the war, the support to Ukraine and Ukrainians amounts to around €68 billion.
“We will continue helping Ukraine resist Russia’s aggression, keep its institutions and infrastructure running, and conduct crucial reforms,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.
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SHALVA PAPUASHVILI - PRESENTLY, IT IS NOT OPPORTUNE TO DISCUSS THE OPEN-DOOR POLICY, WE NEED CONCRETE SOLUTIONS
"It was a significant opportunity for us to participate in the conference alongside the Speakers of the parliaments of the European Union member states. The central theme of the conference was Russia's aggression against Ukraine. During my speech, I was able to reiterate our unwavering solidarity with Ukraine", - Shalva Papuashvili stated while summarizing the conference of the Speakers of the Parliaments of the EU member and partner countries (EUSC).
As he mentioned, it is time to make a decision regarding Georgia and it is important that the European Union takes a more serious look at its own role and enlargement policy.
As the Speaker of the Parliament stated, today is not the time to talk at the open door and it is important for the European Union to make a decision to grant Georgia the status of the European Union.
"Given the prevailing geopolitical scenario, it is crucial for the European Union to take a more serious view of its role in the South Caucasus region. It is time to take a decision regarding Georgia, and it is imperative to understand and make this decision from this perspective. Presently, it is not opportune to discuss the open-door policy, but rather focus on progress. We need concrete solutions that the Georgian people are eagerly anticipating.
Last year, by not being granted candidate status, we were somewhat separated from the association trio. However, it was later confirmed that we continue to lead the way. Therefore, it is crucial that this situation be rectified, and Georgia is once again restored to its former position, alongside Moldova and Ukraine by the end of the year", - Shalva Papuashvili stated.
AMBASSADOR DEGNAN'S REMARKS TO MEDIA AT SKILLS WEEK
Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: I’m very pleased to be here today, along with the Minister of Education, my EU colleague, and many other distinguished guests for the launch of Georgia’s Skills Week. The United States has been helping Georgia develop its education sector for years, including in the area of vocational education and training. This is because we want Georgian citizens to be able to acquire the skills they need through vocational education and training in order to get good paying jobs for rewarding lifelong careers. This is our latest program through USAID: industry-led skills bring together the private sector that coordinates with vocational education and training institutions to make sure that students are coming out with the skills that are needed in today’s market. The programs are designed to bring together the government, the private sector, vocational and education training institutions, and civil society to make sure that Georgians have the opportunity for better paying jobs and rewarding careers that are going to help both their families and their communities. So, we are delighted today to launch Skills Week, a weeklong celebration of the achievements that Georgia has made in this area.
Question on designations on individuals associated with the Georgian judiciary and U.S. study tours for judges
Ambassador Degnan: Our study tours have been popular and successful because they bring together judges from the United States with judges in Georgia and give them an opportunity to learn from each other and to share their best practices and lessons learned. Sometimes they talk about how they manage their courtrooms, the heavy workloads, or sometimes particularly interesting issues that come up during cases. Our programs are open to those who are qualified, as well as those who will benefit from these exchanges with American judges and maybe bring ideas back to their courtrooms. They’re also open to those who can go because this is a big time commitment. Sometimes, given the workloads of judges here, they’re not always able to go for the full two weeks; sometimes it’s even longer than two weeks. So, we are always delighted when Georgian judges choose to participate in our programs, and we usually have a lot of interest in them. We look forward to continuing this great exchange between Georgian and American judges.
On your second question, Parliament created these investigatory commissions as a mechanism to look into issues that are important to the people of Georgia, to look into issues of the day that require greater transparency, and more information to allow the citizens of Georgia to be better informed and also to hold people accountable and provide transparency on important issues. So, the reason this mechanism was created by Parliament was to provide citizens with more information. I think it’s a very useful technique that’s been a mechanism that’s used in many different Parliaments, including the US Congress. We would hope that Parliament and Members of Parliament would make full use of these tools that they have created in the interest of their citizens.
Question on Helsinki Commission’s call for Nika Gvaramia’s release
Ambassador Degnan: The Helsinki Commission is a very well-respected organization that has a mandate from the United States Congress to monitor human rights around the world, including media freedom. They have been clear, as have many others, including our Embassy, on concerns about Mr. Gvaramia’s case, including the original charges, the timing of the charges, and then subsequently the conviction and decision. This is a letter from an organization that has been a friend of Georgia’s for a very long time, a strong supporter of Georgia in its democratic development and its progress toward European integration. Any decision regarding pardoning is solely up to President Zourabichvili, and I’m sure she takes all of the requests—such as those from the Helsinki Commission—into consideration in making her decisions.
U.S. Embassy Statement on designations on four individuals associated with the Georgian judiciary for their involvement in significant corruption
U.S. Embassy Statement on designations on four individuals associated with the Georgian judiciary for their involvement in significant corruption.
Source: Video U.S. Embassy Statement
European Peace Facility: Council increases the financial ceiling to nearly €7.98 billion until 2027
The Council adopted a decision increasing the financial ceiling of the European Peace Facility (EPF) to €7.979 billion (in current prices) until 2027, ensuring that additional financial needs can be covered.
The European Peace Facility has now become an integral part of the EU’s support to promote peace and security globally. Today’s decision brings the financial ceiling of the European Peace Facility to over €7.9 billion. Ensuring the financial sustainability of this instrument is crucial for our support not only to Ukraine, but also for our partners in other parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as needs continue to arise.
This decision implements the political agreement reached on 12 December 2022, when the Council decided to increase the overall EPF financial ceiling by €2 billion (in 2018 prices) in 2023, and allow for the possibility of a further increase at a later stage (up to €5.5 billion in 2018 prices until 2027).
The Council also decided to set a financial reference amount for the common costs of the EU Crisis Management Military Exercise 2023 (MILEX 23) at €5 million and introduce more flexibility in the collection and use of financial contributions from member states and in their use by the facility.
In its conclusions of 15 December 2022, the European Council reiterated the global dimension of the Facility and welcomed the agreement in the Council on 12 December 2022 to ensure its financial sustainability.
Background and next steps
The European Peace Facility was established in March 2021 to finance all common foreign and security policy (CFSP) actions relating to military and defence matters, with the aim of preventing conflict, preserving peace, and strengthening international security and stability. In particular, the European Peace Facility allows the EU to finance actions designed to strengthen the capacities of non-EU countries and regional and international organisations in relation to military and defence matters.
The EPF is an off-budget instrument and originally had an overall financial ceiling of €5 billion in 2018 prices for the period 2021-2027, with annual ceilings that ranged from €420 million in 2021 to €1.132 billion in 2027.
Thanks to the EPF, the EU has been supporting the Ukrainian Armed Forces through seven successive support packages so far, as well as many other countries such as: Mozambique, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of Mali, Somalia, Niger, Jordan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon and Mauritania, as well as military components of African-led Peace Support Operations and multinational units such as the Balkan Medical Task Force.
- European Peace Facility: Council agrees €2 billion increase of the financial ceiling in 2023 (press release, 12 December 2022)
- European Peace Facility (background information)
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