Armenia-Azerbaijan: leaders meet President Michel and agree to work towards peace treaty

Published in World
Friday, 08 April 2022 11:21

European Council President Charles Michel yesterday hosted the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, for a continuation of their discussions on the situation in the South Caucasus region and the development of EU relations with both countries.

President Michel reiterated the EU’s commitment to deepen its cooperation with Armenia and Azerbaijan to work closely in overcoming tensions and promote a South Caucasus that is secure, stable, peaceful and prosperous for the benefit of all people living in the region.

The leaders took stock of developments since their last meeting in Brussels in December 2021 and their videoconference, together with President Macron, in February 2022. They reviewed progress on the implementation of undertaken commitments and discussed recent tensions.

President Michel emphasised the importance of humanitarian gestures by both sides to promote confidence and peaceful coexistence. He stressed the need for the full and speedy resolution of all outstanding humanitarian issues, including the release of remaining detainees and comprehensively addressing the issue of missing persons, and stated that the EU is ready to support this endeavour. The EU will likewise continue to support confidence building measures between Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as humanitarian de-mining efforts, including by continuing to provide expert advice and stepping up financial assistance, and assistance to conflict-affected populations, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

President Michel noted both President Aliyev’s and Prime Minister Pashinyan’s stated desire to move rapidly towards a peace agreement between their countries. To this end, it was agreed to instruct Ministers of Foreign Affairs to work on the preparation of a future peace treaty, which would address all necessary issues.

The delimitation and demarcation of their bilateral border will be essential; to this end, it was also agreed to convene a Joint Border Commission by the end of April, with a mandate to: 

  1. delimit the bilateral border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and
  2. ensure a stable security situation along, and in the vicinity of, the borderline.

The leaders also discussed the restoration of communications/connectivity infrastructure between Armenia and Azerbaijan in particular and in the South Caucasus more broadly. President Michel welcomed the steps towards the restoration of railway lines, while encouraging Armenia and Azerbaijan to also find effective solutions for the restoration of road links. The EU is ready to support the development of connectivity links, including in line with its Economic and Investment Plan and by utilising the proposed economic advisory forum to identify common projects.

The leaders agreed to follow-up on outcomes of their meeting and to stay engaged.

Source: https://euneighbourseast.eu/news-and-stories/latest-news/armenia-azerbaijan-leaders-meet-president-michel-and-agree-to-work-towards-peace-treaty/

Statement of the heads of state or government, meeting in Versailles, on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, 10 March 2022

Published in Politics
Friday, 11 March 2022 12:12

During the first day of the informal meeting, EU leaders adopted a statement on the Russian aggression against Ukraine. They discussed its consequences and the EU response.

1. Two weeks ago Russia brought war back to Europe. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermines European and global security and stability. It is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the Ukrainian population. Russia, and its accomplice Belarus, bear full responsibility for this war of aggression and those responsible will be held to account for their crimes, including for indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian objects. In this respect we welcome the decision of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation. We call for the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities to be ensured immediately with the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency. We demand that Russia ceases its military action and withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine immediately and unconditionally, and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.

2. We commend the people of Ukraine for their courage in defending their country and our shared values of freedom and democracy. We will not leave them alone. The EU and its Member States will continue to provide coordinated political, financial, material and humanitarian support. We are committed to provide support for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine once the Russian onslaught has ceased. We are determined to increase even further our pressure on Russia and Belarus. We have adopted significant sanctions and remain ready to move quickly with further sanctions.

3. Countless people are fleeing the war in Ukraine. We offer temporary protection to all war refugees from Ukraine. We commend European countries, notably at the borders with Ukraine, for showing immense solidarity in hosting Ukrainian war refugees. The EU and its Member States will continue to show solidarity and provide humanitarian, medical and financial support to all refugees and the countries hosting them. We call for funds to be made available without delay through a swift adoption of the proposal on Cohesion’s Action for Refugees in Europe (CARE) and through ReactEU. We call on Russia to fully abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law. It must ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to the victims and internally displaced persons in Ukraine, and allow safe passage for those civilians who want to leave.

4. The European Council acknowledged the European aspirations and the European choice of Ukraine, as stated in the Association Agreement. On 28 February 2022, exercising the right of Ukraine to choose its own destiny, the President of Ukraine submitted the application of Ukraine to become a member of the European Union. The Council has acted swiftly and invited the Commission to submit its opinion on this application in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties. Pending this and without delay, we will further strengthen our bonds and deepen our partnership to support Ukraine in pursuing its European path. Ukraine belongs to our European family.

5. The Council has invited the Commission to submit its opinions on the applications of the Republic of Moldova and Georgia.

On the second day, EU leaders will discuss how to strengthen European sovereignty, reduce dependencies and design a new growth and investment model.

The meeting is hosted by the French presidency and is chaired by Charles Michel, President of the European Council.

Statement of the heads of state or government

 

EU unveils plan to end reliance on Russian gas

Published in Politics
Thursday, 10 March 2022 12:42

The European Commission today unveiled a plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030, starting with gas, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This plan also outlines a series of measures to respond to rising energy prices in Europe and to replenish gas stocks for next winter. REPowerEU will seek to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gases and replace gas in heating and power generation. This can reduce EU demand for Russian gas by two thirds before the end of the year.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We must become independent from Russian oil, coal and gas. We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us. We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition. The quicker we switch to renewables and hydrogen, combined with more energy efficiency, the quicker we will be truly independent and master our energy system.”

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans added: “Putin’s war in Ukraine demonstrates the urgency of accelerating our clean energy transition.” 

REPowerEU – eliminating Europe’s dependence on Russian gas before 2030

Phasing out the EU’s dependence on fossil fuels from Russia can be done well before 2030. To do so, the Commission proposes to develop a REPowerEU plan that will increase the resilience of the EU-wide energy system based on two pillars: 

Diversifying gas supplies, via higher Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and pipeline imports from non-Russian suppliers, and larger volumes of biomethane and renewable hydrogen production and imports

Reducing faster the use of fossil fuels in homes, buildings, industry, and the power system, by boosting energy efficiencyincreasing renewables and electrification, and addressing infrastructure bottlenecks.

With the measures in the REPowerEU plan, the EU could gradually remove at least 155 bcm of fossil gas use, which is equivalent to the volume imported from Russia in 2021. Nearly two thirds of that reduction can be achieved within a year, ending the EU’s overdependence on a single supplier.

Following the invasion of Ukraine, the case for a rapid clean energy transition has never been stronger and clearer. The EU imports 90% of its gas consumption, with Russia providing around 45% of those imports, in varying levels across Member States. Russia also accounts for around 25% of oil imports and 45% of coal imports.

 

EU imposes sanctions on another 26 persons and one entity from Russia

Published in Politics
Monday, 07 March 2022 13:05

The Council of the European Union added 26 persons and one entity to the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

The new listings include oligarchs and businessmen active in the oil, banking and finance sectors, as well as government members, and high-level military personalities, and propagandists who have contributed to spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda and promote a positive attitude towards the invasion of Ukraine.

“With these additional sanctions, we are targeting all who are having a significant economic role in supporting Putin’s regime and benefit financially from the system. These sanctions will expose the wealth of Putin’s elite. Those who enable the invasion of Ukraine will pay a price for their action,” said Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Restrictive measures, which now apply to a total of 680 individuals and 53 entities, include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities. In addition, a travel ban applicable to the listed persons prevents these from entering or transiting through EU territory.

Today’s decision complements the package of measures announced by the High Representative after the video conference of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers of 27 February. This package also includes the provision of equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces through the European Peace Facility, a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Russian carriers of all kinds, and a ban on transactions with the Russian Central Bank.

 

Charles Michel: ‘Guns, ammunition, rockets, and fuel are on their way to your troops’

Published in Politics
Monday, 28 February 2022 15:19

In an address to the Ukrainian people, President of the European Council Charles Michel has said the European Union has a moral and political duty to rise to this historic challenge of Russia’s “brutal, savage war” against Ukraine.

The Ukrainian people are the innocent victims of this folly, he said in his statement on 27 February. “Today, you are resisting fiercely and heroically. You are defending your land and your dignity. Your freedom and your children. Your integrity. Your democracy.

And he added: It is also the dignity, freedom, and democracy of the whole of Europe that is under attack. And that you are defending. 

President Michel said the EU stood by Ukraine, “not just with words, but with concrete and immediate action.

The EU is offering material and military support: We are organising the emergency delivery of defensive military equipment. Guns, ammunition, rockets, and fuel are on their way to your troops. We are also providing significant money and humanitarian assistance.

And unprecedented sanctions “are already hitting hard those who launched this war against you, including Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov, and all the oligarchs who support them.

“With our allies, we are cutting Russia, and its economy, from the international financial system. This will severely cripple Russia’s ability to operate globally. We are also closing European airspace to Russian airlines. And we will go further,” he warned.

Michel said he was in constant contact with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Your President – and you the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian nation – are rising to this historic moment. And today, all of Europe must also rise to this historic moment. We stand with you,” he said.

Source: https://euneighbourseast.eu/news-and-stories/latest-news/charles-michel-guns-ammunition-rockets-and-fuel-are-on-their-way-to-your-troops/

Statement by president Charles Michel on the political situation in Georgia

Published in Politics
Thursday, 29 July 2021 15:34

Statement by president Charles Michel on the political situation in Georgia: "I have taken note of the decision by the Georgian Dream as regards the 19 April Agreement. This agreement continues to offer a European way towards building a stronger democracy and rule of law in Georgia in the interest of the Georgian people. I have equally taken note of the continued non-signature by United National Movement of the agreement.

I remain convinced that this agreement is the best way to advance a reform agenda which would strengthen the democratic institutions of Georgia and help bring about prosperity, jobs and growth - all much needed to the benefit of the people of Georgia.

I see no alternative to continued in-depth electoral and judicial reforms, and free and fair local elections.

I call on all parties to put the interests of the citizens first and to commit to advancing Georgia’s political discourse within the framework of the country’s democratic institutions. Consultations with a number of political actors in Georgia are starting. Yesterday I met with President Zourabichvili to discuss the situation and EU-Georgia relations".

.

Irakli Garibashvili’s meeting with Charles Michel

Published in Politics
Monday, 19 July 2021 16:16

Today, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili held a face-to-face meeting with Charles Michel, President of the European Council, who is visiting Georgia as part of the Georgia's European Way international conference in Batumi. Irakli Garibashvili thanked Charles Michel for visiting Georgia and pointed out that the recent high-level visits demonstrate the excellence of the relations between Georgia and the EU and underline Georgia's importance to the EU.

Georgia remains the EU's reliable ally and a crucial stronghold of democracy in a geopolitically complex region, the Prime Minister emphasized.

The meeting underscored Georgia's positive role in the Caucasus. President Michel singled out the Georgian Prime Minister's successful mediation resulting in the release of 15 Armenian citizens and important maps of mined territories handed over to the Azerbaijani side. Irakli Garibashvili reaffirmed his commitment to continuing active engagement in the process of dialogue and to making Georgia a platform for negotiations in order to facilitate the peaceful resolution of the present conflicts and to ensure peace and stability in the region.

The Prime Minister, together with the President of the European Council, discussed the importance of EU engagement in the Caucasus Region and the significance of the political agreement achieved in Georgia through Charles Michel's personal involvement. The ruling team has implemented the agreement's provisions, and this process continues, the Head of Government said and added that, unfortunately, most of the opposition have yet to sign Charles Michel's agreement, and that is a major obstacle crippling the stabilization and pacification of the political situation.

During the face-to-face meeting with Charles Michel, the Prime Minister also emphasized that the Government's major task is to maintain stability and peace in Georgia, a stance also shared by the President of the European Council.

The conversation also touched on the upcoming local self-government elections. According to the Prime Minister, the authorities are motivated to ensure peaceful and transparent elections. Garibashvili also addressed President Michel with a request to delegate as many EU observers as possible, to prevent everyone from engaging, for any reason, in speculations concerning the elections. The meeting also emphasized that Georgia has already invited all international election observer organizations to the upcoming elections in October.

One of the topics of the conversation between the Prime Minister and President Michel was electoral reform. According to Irakli Garibashvili, the ruling team, with the opposition's engagement, has developed a near perfect electoral reform. The Prime Minister reaffirmed the authorities' commitment to continuing the ongoing judicial reform. As a result of the years-long court reform, considerable progress has been achieved, though it is not enough, the reason why the process will continue to be successfully finalized, Irakli Garibashvili said.

 Press Service of the Government Administration

Batumi International Conference to kick off Monday

Published in Politics
Monday, 19 July 2021 11:08

2021 Batumi International Conference will kick off today in a hybrid format due to the ongoing pandemic.

The main spotlight is on the upgraded level of cooperation between the three EU Associated Partners – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – recently formalized as the Associated Trio, the organizers said.

The three Partners are determined to accelerate the reforms envisaged by their respective Association Agreements with the European Union that contain provisions on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas and prepare the next stage of their European integration.

“The panel will discuss possible interests of the EU to engage further in the enhanced integration process with the three Eastern European partners. Also, deliberate more on the European enthusiasm of the three countries while also reflecting on how the new format will complement the future of the Eastern Partnership,” the statement reads.

Charles Michel and the presidents of Moldova and Ukraine will participate in today’s Conference.

Political parties signed Charles Michel's compromise paper

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 20 April 2021 09:46

The Georgian political parties signed A way ahead for Georgia, a compromise document submitted to the parties by the European Council President Charles Michel, at the Orbeliani Palace on April 19.

Davit Bakradze, Aleko Elisashvili, Badri Japaridze, Zurab Japaridze, Mamuka Khazaradze, Vakhtang Megrelishvili, Shalva Papuashvili, Salome Samadashvili, Khatuna Samnidze, Archil Talakvadze, and Giorgi Vashadze have signed the document.

Khatuna Samnidze, Davit Bakradze and Salome Samadashvili have made signatures individually, as the bloc National Movement – Strength in Unity and the European Georgia party did not join the compromise paper.

The EU and US Ambassadors Carl Hartzell and Kelly Degnan attended the signing ceremony. European Council President Charles Michel joined the event virtually.

President Michel presented a new document to the political parties on April 18. According to a new document, if the ruling party wins less than 43 per cent of electoral support in local polls, early parliamentary elections will be called in 2022.

Joint statement of the Spokespersons of the EU High Representative/Vice-President and of the US Department of State on the EU mediation

Published in Politics
Monday, 19 April 2021 11:42

After nearly six months of negotiations, the citizens of Georgia have made clear that they want the political crisis to end, and for all elected Members to work together in Parliament and address the serious challenges facing the country, including the regional challenges, COVID, and the economic crisis.

With this in mind, the European Union and the United States call on all Members of Georgia’s Parliament to sign the agreement that European Council President Michel will propose today. This is an agreement all Members can sign in good faith rather than a unilateral action that undermines the goal of a broad-based agreement.

The institutional reforms in the agreement represent important progress for Georgia’s democratic development and are of significant benefit for its citizens, helping to create a more independent judiciary, stronger electoral processes, and a Parliament that can better reflect the voices of all people of Georgia.

Accepting this compromise demonstrates courage and a commitment by all parties to put the needs of the citizens of Georgia first, ahead of the interests of any one political party.

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