EU disburses around €300 million in emergency Macro-Financial Assistance and adopts €120 million in grant supportMonday, 21 March 2022 11:09
On 18 March, the European Commission disbursed a further €289 million in emergency Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) to Ukraine and adopted a €120 million grant for Ukraine. This disbursement will support the Ukrainian government in strengthening civilian crisis preparedness and management at both central and local levels.
This follows last week’s disbursement of €300 million – the initial part of the first €600 million installment under Ukraine’s new €1.2 billion emergency MFA programme, announced by the European Commission on 24 January 2022.
The emergency MFA programme will enhance Ukraine’s macroeconomic stability in the context of Russia’s invasion. It represents a concrete demonstration of the EU’s unwavering support for Ukraine.
The remaining funds (€600 million) will be disbursed later in the year, in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the EU and Ukraine.
In parallel, the Commission is preparing an additional MFA programme to further support Ukraine in the longer term, also announced by President von der Leyen at the end of January.
In December 2021, the European Commission updated (Commission Implementing Regulation 2002/34), which allows Georgia to export snails and frog legs to the European Union among other food products. This has taken place within the framework of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between Georgia and the EU.
In several European countries, snails are used in the food industry. There is significant demand for the product, and Georgia is considered an ideal location for production due to weather conditions. Currently, snails are being produced on an estimated 50 farms across Georgia.
Snail production is an attractive market due to the high demand, low input required and profitable returns. Georgian farmers can get started with as little as half a hectare of land and sell one kilogram of produce for more than GEL 10 on the European market.
The Foreign Ministers of the Associated Trio have met with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an EconomyFriday, 25 June 2021 14:25
The Foreign Minister of the Associated Trio – Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine met with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy, Valdis Dombrovskis.
During the meeting the parties discussed the significance of the establishment of the Associated Trio and its future goals, namely in terms of European Integration and coordinating in terms of common goals, by developing cooperation with the EU, including in terms of establishing sectoral dialogue on economic and trade issues.
On May 31, the Prime Ministers of Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine addressed President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission in a joint letter requesting EU assistance in supplying the Eastern Partnership states with COVID-19 vaccines.
The Prime Ministers underline the EU's immediate assistance provided to partner countries since the start of the pandemic in the fight against COVID-19 and its consequent social and economic challenges.
The letter points out that, at this point, safe mass vaccination is key to defeating the pandemic, the reason why the Prime Ministers of the three countries address the European Commission with a request for the EU to expand its vaccine sharing mechanism to cover the Eastern Partnership states which, along with vaccines acquired from other sources, will help said countries replenish their vaccine supplies in a timely manner. The Heads of Government express commitment to continuing cooperation with the European Commission in this direction.
Press Service of the Government Administration
EU doubles contribution to COVAX to €1 billion to ensure safe and effective vaccines for low and middle-income countriesWednesday, 03 March 2021 11:28
The European Union has announced today an additional €500 million for the COVAX Facility, doubling its contribution to date for the global initiative that is leading efforts to secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries. This new pledge brings us closer to achieving COVAX's target to deliver 1.3 billion doses for 92 low and middle income countries by the end of 2021. Team Europe is one of the lead contributors to COVAX with over €2.2 billion, including another €900 million pledged today by Germany.
Announcing the new contribution at the G7 virtual leaders' meeting, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Last year, as part of our Coronavirus Global Response, we committed to ensuring universal access to vaccines everywhere on Earth, for everyone who would need them. COVAX is best placed to help us reach this goal. This is why we decided to double the European Commission's contribution to COVAX, to €1 billion. With this new financial boost we want to make sure vaccines are soon delivered to low and middle-income countries. Because we will only be safe if the whole world is safe.”
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, added: “We are in a race against the virus and COVAX is our best hope that all our partners, in Africa and elsewhere, have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The EU has been leading efforts in international fora, such as the G20 and G7, to guarantee that collectively we ensure that COVID-19 vaccines become a global public good. This is why today we are doubling our support to COVAX.”
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, stressed: “Humanism and solidarity are essential values for Europe. These values have been our compass since the onset of the pandemic. The EU has invested close to €3 billion to pre-finance the production of safe and effective vaccines, which will benefit not only the EU but citizens across the world. Vaccines produced in Europe are now going all over the world and we as Team Europe are working to share doses secured under our advanced purchase agreements preferably through COVAX with the Western Balkans, Neighborhood and Africa – benefitting above all health workers and humanitarian needs.”
The contribution announced today is composed of a new €300 million EU grant and €200 million in guarantees by the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus (EFSD+) that will back a loan by the European Investment Bank. This is subject to the adoption of the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) by the Council and the European Parliament. The EIB loan to be guaranteed by EFSD+ is subject to the approval of the EIB's Board of Directors. These funds will complement a previous €100 million grant and €400 million in guarantees from the EU budget.
To date, a total of 191 countries participate in the COVAX Facility, 92 of them low and middle-income economies eligible to get access to COVID-19 vaccines through Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). Most of these are in Africa. Through these contributions, the Commission and its partners will secure purchase options for future COVID-19 vaccines for all the participants in the Facility.
Vaccines will be procured and delivered to countries by the UNICEF Supply Division and the PAHO's Revolving Fund for Access to Vaccines. The fast arrival of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has shown that multilateralism and multi-actor partnerships work to solve the most pressing problems of our time.
COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
The COVAX Facility aims to purchase 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, including at least 1.3 billion doses for low and middle-income country. It will help to develop a diversified portfolio of vaccines, negotiated with different suppliers, and covering different scientific technologies, delivery times and prices. The COVAX Facility is a risk-sharing mechanism: it reduces the risk for manufacturers who invest without being sure about future demand, and it reduces the risk that countries would fail to secure access to a viable vaccine.
The European Commission is committed to ensuring that everyone who needs a vaccine gets it, anywhere in the world, and to promote global health. This is why together with partners it has helped raised almost €16 billion since 4 May 2020 under the Coronavirus Global Response, the global action in support of universal access to tests, treatments and vaccines against coronavirus and for the global recovery. Team Europe's contribution was as follows: EU Member States (€3.1 billion), European Commission (over €1.4 billion) and EIB (almost €2 billion pledged in May and €4.9 billion pledged in June).
The EU's efforts to develop and produce an effective vaccine will benefit all in the global community. The EU investment in scaling up manufacturing capacity will be to the service of all countries in need. Through its Advanced Purchase Agreements, it requires manufacturers to make their production capacity available to supply all countries and calls for the free flow of vaccines and materials with no export restrictions. For instance, the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-GSK, with whom the Commission concluded an Advanced Purchase Agreement in September, will endeavour to provide a significant portion of their vaccine supply through the COVAX facility.
Building on the EU Vaccines Strategy, the EU is in the process of setting up vaccine sharing mechanism to allow EU Member States to redirect some of the doses procured under the advanced purchased agreement, preferably through COVAX.
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The news prepared in the framework of the EU project "EU NEIGHBOURS east"
On 14 May, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker hosted a high-level conference on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.
The conference brought together Heads of State or Government of the Eastern partner countries, foreign ministers of the EU Member States, civil society representatives, business leaders, young people and journalists from across the 34 countries. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, also participated in the event.
“The Eastern Partnership is fundamentally a future-oriented partnership for the citizens and with the citizens; firmly focussed on what is important for them. Together we are working towards stronger economies, stronger governance, stronger connectivity and stronger societies”, said President Juncker. “We have put in place ambitious Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and citizens of these countries also benefit from visa free travel for short stays in the EU. 125,000 loans have been provided to businesses in the Eastern Partnership, of which half are in local currency, and we have contributed to the creation of over 30,000 jobs in the region. And our trade has increased with each of the six Eastern Partnership countries, which together are the EU’s 10th trading partner. I would like us to continue to focus on the content of what we believe we should do together so that our Partnership can keep its promises.”
The conference’s participants discussed the developments of the partnership during this first decade and exchanged views on its future.
Ten years ago, in May 2009, the Heads of State or Government and representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine gathered with high-level EU officials in Prague to strengthen mutual ties of friendship and cooperation and to launch a strategic and ambitious partnership, as a specific dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy to be developed alongside bilateral cooperation.
This joint endeavour, in an effort to build a more prosperous, resilient, stable and democratic region, was based on shared values, mutual interests and commitments, bringing the Eastern partner countries closer to the EU and developing stronger ties among the partner countries themselves, for the benefit of all.
The European Commission proposed new Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) to Georgia, worth up to €45 million. According to an EU press release, if adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, this assistance would help Georgia cover part of its external financing needs.
“Today's proposal for additional assistance is another sign of the EU's strong support for the Georgian people,” said Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs. “As Georgia continues its economic transition, we are helping the country to preserve macroeconomic stability and continue the reform process, which is needed to achieve stronger and more inclusive growth.”
Of the total €45 million, €10 million would be provided in the form of grants and up to €35 million in medium-term loans at favourable financing conditions, helping to reduce uncertainty surrounding the economy’s short-term balance of payments and fiscal issues, the EU press release added.
Disbursements under the proposed MFA programme would be strictly conditional and dependent on the implementation of specific policy, to be agreed between Georgia and the EU and set out in a Memorandum of Understanding, and on good progress with the IMF programme.
The MFA is an exceptional EU crisis response instrument available to the EU’s neighbouring partner countries. It is complementary to assistance provided by the International Monetary Fund. MFA loans are financed through EU borrowing on capital markets. The funds are then lent on, with similar financial terms, to the beneficiary countries. MFA grants come from the EU budget.
The successful finalization of visa liberalization for Georgia was referred to as "a historic day for both Georgia and the EU" today by President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. The Georgian Prime Minister, during his visit to Brussels, held a meeting with the President of the European Commission and thanked him for his tremendous role in the process of visa liberalization.
The parties discussed the agenda of Georgia-EU relations and commended the success achieved so far. As it was pointed out at the meeting, the launch of visa liberalization is yet another testimony to the efforts of the Georgian Government in the building of democratic institutions.
According to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgia has taken a giant step toward returning to the European family, while the EU, for its part, has showed that the European choice brings tangible results, and that the EU does come through with its promises.
The discussion also involved the steps planned by the Government of Georgia in relation to the launch of visa-free travel, which seek to avoid violations from Georgian citizens and to prevent growing numbers of illegal migrants and asylum seekers.
The meeting in Brussels was attended by Georgia's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science Alexandre Jejelava, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze, and the Prime Minister's Foreign Adviser Tedo Japaridze.
On March 1, 2017, Georgians have been granted the freedom to travel to the Schengen Area member states. The signing ceremony took place in Brussels on the same day, while the regulation will come into full effect on 28 March, 2017.
From 28 March, 2017 Georgian citizens holding biometric passports can travel to the Schengen Zone without a visa for a period of 90 days within any 180-day period for purposes other than working.
The European Commission submitted a legislative proposal on the visa liberalization for Georgia to the European Parliament. It was assumed that visa-free regime would be discussed for both countries as a package, Georgia and Ukraine, but the MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) decided to divide the two countries.
The negotiations on visa liberalization for Georgia started back in 2008 as part of the Eastern Partnership Program.
Georgia took part in the EU-Georgia talks back in June 2012, as a way used by the pro-Western government to win painful EU-sponsored reforms.
In order to travel freely, the citizens of Georgia will need to provide a biometric passport. On the other hand, Georgians will lose this freedom to travel if they:
- Suddenly start making numerous asylum requests
- Stay in the Schengen Zone for more than 90 days at a time
- Cause an increase in the risk of public policy and internal security
If such problems persist, the suspension can be extended up to 18 months, were also the European Parliament will get involved and continue a more complex procedure.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgia’s prime minister called this a truly historic day for the Georgians and expressed gratitude towards the EU member states.
This has proved to be the day that will bring Georgians closer to the European Union.