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.”
Find out more
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, on the margins of the first summit of the European Political Community, in Prague.
The Council of the European Union today formally decided to provide €5 billion of additional macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Ukraine as a matter of urgency.
On 9 September, at an informal meeting of the Ecofin Council in Prague, EU finance ministers agreed to provide an additional €5 billion in assistance for Ukraine. This additional aid was officially approved today after the necessary formal steps were completed in just 11 days.
This financial assistance complements other EU support to Ukraine in the humanitarian, development, customs and defence fields.
This €5 billion macro-financial assistance will be provided to Ukraine in the form of highly concessional long-term loans. It constitutes the second stage in the implementation of the EU’s planned exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine of up to €9 billion, announced by the European Commission this May.
The EU says a decision on the implementation of the third phase of the Union’s exceptional macro-financial assistance of up to €3 billion will be taken shortly, once the structure of this assistance has been determined.
Find out more
The European Commission has welcomed the decision by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its infractions of international aviation rules, in order to preserve the safety and security of civil aviation.
The ICAO decision refers to the violation of Ukraine’s sovereign airspace in the context of Russia’s war of aggression, and to the deliberate and continued violation of several safety requirements in an attempt by the Russian government to circumvent EU sanctions. These actions include illegally double-registering in Russia aircraft stolen from leasing companies, and permitting Russian airlines to operate these aircraft on international routes without a valid Certificate of Airworthiness, which is the necessary safety certificate.
Adina Vălean, European Commissioner responsible for Transport, said: “It is of utmost importance for all countries to defend the international aviation rules-based system, for the safety of passengers and crew. Russia continues to disrespect the fundamental rules of international aviation and to instruct its airlines to work against these rules. I welcome the ICAO Council’s clear condemnation, which reflects the gravity of the actions undertaken by Russia.”
ICAO yesterday informed its 193 Member States about Russia’s blatant non-respect of crucial international aviation law and will bring the issue to its next general Assembly, taking place from 27 September to 7 October 2022.
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.
Find out more
On 4 and 5 July, the Swiss city of Lugano is hosting a two-day conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmigal, speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, a number of Ukrainian ministers and MPs, high officials from the EU and international financial institutions arrived in Lugano. The President of Ukraine participated in the conference online.
“The Russian bombs are still falling, but we know nothing is impossible to the people of Ukraine,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her speech. She noted that the Commission has already proposed to set up a reconstruction platform to map investment needs, to coordinate action, and to channel resources to the Ukrainian Government.
“This platform will be the place to shape strategic orientations and priorities for our common work. The focus is on future-proof reconstruction moving towards climate neutrality, embracing the digital decade, building a social market economy – leaving no one behind, ensuring security and defense, all of it embedded in good governance,” said Ursula von der Leyen.
She added that together with German Chancellor Scholz, and in cooperation with the international partners, the EU will organise a high-level international conference after summer ends.
“We want to bring together the brightest minds and leading global experts on reconstruction to ensure that this generational undertaking is done in the right way. This will give additional confidence to all investors: Your money not only serves a good cause, it will be, first and foremost, spent efficiently and effectively, with maximum impact for the people of Ukraine,” mentioned von der Leyen.
Find out more
Ursula von der Leyen to Ukrainian parliament: investments should be coupled with new wave of reformsFriday, 01 July 2022 15:56
“There is a long road ahead but Europe will be at your side every step of the way, for as long as it takes, from these dark days of war until the moment you cross the door that leads into our European Union,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the Ukrainian parliament during a live video address on 1 July.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal also took part in the plenary session of the Ukrainian parliament.
Von der Leyen praised the bravery of the Ukrainian people in defending their country against Russian aggression: “Your brave soldiers on the frontline are making ultimate sacrifices to defend the soil of Ukraine and its people. And behind the lines, there are countless other Ukrainians working to support this national endeavour.” She also praised the authorities who have kept the state and democracy “up and running against all odds”.
Regarding Ukraine’s candidate status, von der Leyen noted the next steps require “hard work, determination and above all unity of purpose.”
She also announced that next Monday, together with President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Shmyhal, she will participate in the Lugano conference for the reconstruction of Ukraine. “Massive investments will have to come. But to maximise their impact and to foster business confidence, investments will have to be coupled with a new wave of reforms,” added von der Leyen, urging Ukraine to take the fight against corruption.
However, she said that “for instance, no one expects Ukraine to fill in all the posts in your new [anti-corruption] institutions while so many of your best and brightest are fighting on the front”. “But Ukraine’s democracy must be kept on the right track. You have already shown that you can pass important laws even as the war still rages on, and make every day count,” said von der Leyen.
“You are the ones who can change this country for good. And this will be your ultimate victory. A free, prosperous and vibrant Ukraine. A sovereign Ukraine that is finally reunited with our European family. Slava Ukraini,” concluded von der Leyen.
During the President’s address the EU flag was brought into the plenary hall of Verkhovna Rada. “Brought here to stay,” commented the European Commission in Telegram.
Find out more
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has travelled to Kyiv today, meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“Good to be back in Kyiv,” she tweeted. “I will take stock of the joint work needed for reconstruction and of the progress made by Ukraine on its European path.”
Speaking at a press point with the Ukrainian President, she said the EU and Ukraine were working together on a reconstruction platform to channel contributions, adding there was “huge interest from all over the world – NGOs, businesses, international institutions – to help Ukraine rise from the ashes.”
She added that the European Commission was currently preparing its recommendation for the EU member states – the so-called opinion – on Ukraine’s EU accession application. “We have been working day and night on this assessment. The discussions today will enable us to finalise our assessment by the end of next week,” she said, adding: “The path is known. It is a merit-based path forward. It is a path where I highly appreciate the enormous efforts and the determination of Ukraine in this process.”
It is the European Commission President’s second visit to Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion. On 8 April, Ursula von der Leyen travelled to Kyiv, launching Ukraine’s EU application process by handing the Ukrainian President the questionnaire that would form the starting point for the EU to decide on Ukraine’s membership.
Find out more
The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, today disbursed €600 million in Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) to Ukraine to address its acute financing gap related to its exceptional humanitarian and defence needs.
The first tranche of €600 million of this emergency macro-financial assistance operation, worth €1.2 billion, was paid in two tranches on 11 and 18 March.
These funds are provided to Ukraine in the form of long-term loans on highly favourable terms. They contribute to financing part of the sizable funding gap of the country, estimated by International Financial Institutions at around $15 billion for the second quarter of 2022.
The disbursement of this macro-financial assistance was to be conditional on the implementation of a series of the structural policy measures by the Ukrainian authorities. However, due to force majeure circumstances, the Commission decided to allocate the second tranche as a matter of urgency.
“Going forward, the EU will continue to provide short-term financial support to Ukraine while accompanying it in its long-term reconstruction, in line with the plans announced on Wednesday. Ukraine will get back on its feet as a democratic and prosperous country,” President Ursula von der Leyen said.
Find out more
Georgia to submit the second part of the EU self-assessment questionnaire to the European Commission by 10 MaySaturday, 07 May 2022 13:12
"Georgia has completed the second part of the questionnaire and we are going to hand it over to the European Commission by 10 May," the minister is quoted as saying.
As Ilia Darchiashvili noted, the second part of the questionnaire was of technical-sectoral nature, and it took a great deal of efforts to complete it. The Minister thanked the government agencies that took part in the process.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission’s opinion regarding the document will be the next step on the path of EU integration.
On 2 May, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, handed over the first completed part of the EU questionnaire to the EU Ambassador to Georgia, Karl Hartzel.
MFA of Georgia