Charles Michel at G7 meeting: Ukraine needs more and we are committed to providing more

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 28 June 2022 13:42

Support for Ukraine is the focus of discussions at the G7 meeting taking place in Schloss Elmau, Germany, from 26 to 28 June. During these days, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the European Union will work mainly on the global economy, partnerships for developing countries, foreign and security policy, sustainability, food security, multilateralism, and digital transformation.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, highlighted the support that the EU has provided to Ukraine, including €2 billion to provide military equipment. “Ukraine needs more and we are committed to providing more. This comprises more military support, more financial means and more political support. We are also committed to supporting Ukraine’s reconstruction,” said Michel.

The EU and the G7 share the same goals: bringing Russia’s war machine to a halt, while protecting our economies and those of our partners. The EU will stand by the people of Ukraine for the long haul and will help defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our aim is to strongly defend our common democratic values,” said Michel.

The President added that during the G7 meeting, he would highlight food security – “the Kremlin is using food as a silent weapon of war” – and energy security in the light of the war. 

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Press release

Remarks by President Charles Michel before the G7 summit Germany

European Council: Ukraine and Moldova granted EU candidate status

Published in Politics
Friday, 24 June 2022 10:38

On 23 June, EU leaders meeting in the European Council agreed to grant Ukraine and Moldova EU candidate status.

A historic moment. Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU,” wrote European Council President Charles Michel on Twitter. “Congratulations to Zelenskyy and Maia Sandu and the people of Ukraine and Moldova. Our future is together.” 

At the same time, the Council decided to recognise the European perspective of Georgia,  and, according to Michel, “is ready to grant candidate status once the outstanding priorities are addressed”.

The decision follows the Opinions issued by the European Commission on all three EU accession applications on 17 June.

I am very pleased with the Leaders’ endorsement of our Opinions,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the press conference following the Council. “Of course, the countries all have homework to do before moving to the next stage of the accession process. But I am convinced that they will all move as swiftly as possible and work as hard as possible to implement the necessary reforms.” She added that the changes needed for the EU accession would primarily benefit the states’ democracies, economies and citizens.

This decision strengthens us all. It strengthens Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, in the face of Russian imperialism and it strengthens the European Union, because it shows once again to the world that we are united and strong in the face of external threats, said  Ursula von der Leyen.

In their Conclusions adopted on 23 June, EU leaders said:

  • The European Council recognises the European perspective of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. The future of these countries and their citizens lies within the European Union.
  • The European Council has decided to grant the status of candidate country to Ukraine and to the Republic of Moldova.
  • The Commission is invited to report to the Council on the fulfilment of the conditions specified in the Commission’s opinions on the respective membership applications as part of its regular enlargement package. The Council will decide on further steps once all these conditions are fully met.
  • The European Council is ready to grant the status of candidate country to Georgia once the priorities specified in the Commission’s opinion on Georgia’s membership application have been addressed.
  • The progress of each country towards the European Union will depend on its own merit in meeting the Copenhagen criteria, taking into consideration the EU’s capacity to absorb new members.

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Press release

European Council Conclusions

European Commission recommends to grant Ukraine and Moldova EU candidate status, Georgia receives perspective to become EU member

Published in Politics
Monday, 20 June 2022 12:24

Today, the European Commission presented its Opinions on the applications for EU membership submitted by Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova as invited by the Council. The European Commission recommended to grant Ukraine and Moldova EU candidate status, while it recommended that Georgia be given the perspective to become a member of the EU, and that candidate status should be granted once a number of priorities have been addressed.

The Opinions are based on the Commission’s assessment in light of the three sets of criteria to join the EU agreed by the European Council: political criteria, economic criteria, and the ability of the country to assume the obligations of EU membership (EU acquis). According to a press release from the European Commission, the Opinions also take into account Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia’s efforts in implementing their obligations under the Association Agreements (AA), including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA), which cover significant parts of the EU acquis.

Ukraine

The European Commission has found that Ukraine overall is well advanced in reaching the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, and has continued its strong macro-economic record, demonstrating a noteworthy resilience with macroeconomic and financial stability, while needing to continue ambitious structural economic reforms. The country has gradually approximated to substantial elements of the EU acquis in many areas.

Read opinion in full

Moldova  

The European Commission concludes that the country has a solid foundation in place to reach the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities; macroeconomic policies have been reasonably sound and progress has been made in strengthening the financial sector and business environment but key economic reforms remain to be undertaken. The country has established a solid basis for further alignment with the EU acquis.

Read opinion in full

Georgia

The European Commission assesses that Georgia has a foundation in place to reach the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, even if recent developments have undermined the country’s progress; it has achieved a good degree of macroeconomic stability and has a sound record of economic policy and a favourable business environment, but further reforms are needed to improve the functioning of its market economy; overall, Georgia has established a solid basis for further alignment with the EU acquis.

Read opinion in full

Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective.” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told a press conference announcing the Opinions. “We want them to live with us in the European Union.” 

She added: “Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia share the strong and legitimate aspiration of joining the European Union. Today, we are sending them a clear signal of support in their aspirations, even as they face challenging circumstances.”

“Indeed, this is a historic day for the people of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. We are confirming that they belong, in due time, in the European Union. The next steps are now in the hands of our Member States,” Ursula von der Leyen said.

Based on the European Commission’s Opinions, the EU Member States will now have to decide unanimously on the next steps.

The applications for EU membership by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova in light of the Commission’s Opinions will be discussed by Heads of State and Government at the European Council next week, on 23 and 24 June. 

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Press release

Memo on Ukraine: European Commission – Questions and answers

Memo on Moldova: European Commission – Questions and answers

Memo on Georgia: European Commission – Questions and answers

EU-funded House of Europe unrolls €1.5 million emergency war response package

Published in World
Tuesday, 14 June 2022 09:54

The House of Europe programme has mobilised €1.5 million for a dedicated war response package aimed at artists, cultural managers, doctors, educators, entrepreneurs, journalists, and leaders of youth organisations who face Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Since 24 February 2022, the programme has redirected its funding to seven areas of emergency support, focusing on creating new support schemes to address wartime challenges. 

In addition, the House of Europe has collected and informed about hundreds of opportunities for both displaced people and Ukrainians left behind: scholarships and residencies for cultural workers, scholarships for academics and scholarships for students, emergency support for NGOs, media workers and entrepreneurs, among others.

The House of Europe has supported the preservation of cultural heritage in Ukraine, provided individual support for Ukrainian professionals and allowed current grantees to repurpose their funding instantly. 

The war response package includes:

– 28 museums from Lviv, Odesa, and Kyiv, as well as Donetsk, Luhansk, Sumy, and Mykolaiv regions received €146,359 to protect their collections.

– 10 civil society initiatives receive funding for documenting war crimes, re-equipping teachers from Mariupol, holding a children’s film festival, instructing pregnant women how to give birth in shelters, etc. 13 cultural organisations that have transformed into shelter places for the displaced have been funded.

– 150 members of House of Europe’s Alumni community received stipends of €1,000 each for renewing their professional activities, but foremost for essentials like accommodation, food, medication, and fuel.

– Civil society representatives and House of Europe partners involved in evacuations of citizens, safeguarding of cultural heritage, volunteering, and other life-saving operations across Ukraine received 75 sets of protective and medical kits.

– Professionals and organisations that won House of Europe grants and have not carried out their projects yet in full were offered to spend the money on emergency needs and withstanding the Russian aggression. This includes 36 selected recipients of Individual Project Grants, who were unable to proceed with their projects; those received alternative funding – a lump-sum fixed contribution, which may be spent for emergency purposes.

At the beginning of June 2022, the House of Europe will offer infrastructure grants of up to €15,000 each to Ukrainian organisations in an open competition to restore equipment and facilities and resume activities.

In July 2022, the House of Europe will also hold the third edition of Hatathon, an online hackathon bringing together cultural and IT professionals in search of start-up solutions in the cultural, creative industries and beyond.

House of Europe is an EU-funded programme fostering professional and creative exchange between Ukrainians and their colleagues in EU countries and the United Kingdom. The programme focuses on different professional fields: culture and creative industries, education, health, social entrepreneurship, media, and youth. 

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Press release

Von der Leyen back in Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President

Published in World
Monday, 13 June 2022 12:22

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.

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Twitter thread

EU condemns Russia’s attempts to forcefully integrate parts of Ukraine

Published in World
Tuesday, 07 June 2022 09:10

The European Union strongly condemns Russia’s attempts to forcefully integrate parts of Ukrainian territory.

On 25 May and 30 May, the Russian president issued decrees, simplifying the process for granting Russian citizenship and issuing Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, which are temporarily under Russian military control, as well as to Ukrainian children without parental care and legally incapacitated persons from Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. 

The European Union will not recognise these passports, issued as part of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said EU High Representative Josep Borrell in a declaration issued on behalf of the EU. 

The EU also strongly condemns any attempts by Russia to replace democratically elected and legitimate Ukrainian administrations, to introduce the Russian rouble as a parallel currency to the Ukrainian hryvnia, and to impose Russian curricula and education materials and change the language of tuition in schools in those parts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions that are currently under the illegal control of Russian armed forces.

Any attempts to alter the status of parts of Ukrainian territory are a clear violation of international law, the UN Charter and Ukraine’s Constitution, they further undermine sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and will not be recognised by the European Union,” said the declaration by Borrell.

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Press release

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska to join ‘Women in Conflicts’ event in Brussels on 9 June

Published in World
Monday, 06 June 2022 11:11

The First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska will join the ‘Women in Conflicts’ event in Brussels on 9 June. 

The event will bring together women leaders and survivors of conflicts and will

be co-hosted by the President of the European Council Charles Michel.

The event, co-hosted with UN Women, Nadia’s Initiative and the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation, will focus on survivors, justice and reparation, and women’s leadership in conflict.

This second edition is a follow-up to the ‘Women in Conflicts’ organised in New York City on 21 September 2021.

The event will be broadcast live on Council live and social media channels: Twitter: (https://twitter.com/eucopresident, https://twitter.com/eucouncil), Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/CharlesMichel, https://www.facebook.com/eucouncil), LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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Press release

Charity Evening «NOW»

Published in Society
Friday, 03 June 2022 17:33

NOW is an association of artists from different countries who have gathered to host a charity event in support of Ukraine.  The event will present different areas of anti-war art: actionism, performance art, audiovisual art, music, cinema. During the war, we, the artists, must continue to speak the language that is available to us — the language of art. Also we will conduct the auction, where everyone can buy anti-war art, all the proceeds from sales will also go to charity.

Exhibition would be curated by patron of the art Ria Keburia, performance art — by poet and performer Andro Dadiani, photography section — by Elene Glonti.

The event will represent many different kinds of art:

- Salome Jashi and Tornike Bziava participate in the short movie screening

- Performance by artists from Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Turkmenistan and Russia

- Musicians Sandro Bibich & Nodariko Khutsishvili & Zuka Simonishvili & Dato Kakulia will also perform on the event

- Experimental music by Tornike

A fixed donation of 25 GEL will be set at the entrance.  All collected donations will be divided between partner funds: Helping to leave, Paliashvili 60 and Library About Georgia. ⅔ amounts will be sent to help Ukraine and its residents, ⅓ funds will be transferred to help Georgian refugees.

Main point of our festival that we want to spread the word about:

  1.  Art is political.
  2. We are standing for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.
  3. We are for the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the territory of Georgia and for the complete de-occupation of Georgia.  Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region are territories of Georgia.
  4. We are against dictatorship in any form.
  5. We are against any discrimination, xenophobia and violence.
  6. Freedom for all political prisoners!

Location: Hermitspace (1 Vasil Petriashvili Street, Tbilisi)

Date: 4th of June 17:30-01:00

GLOBALink | Russia-Ukraine conflict: 100 days in 100 seconds

Published in CHINA
Friday, 03 June 2022 13:29

June 3 marks the 100th day of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. The following is a review of key events of the 100-day conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

 

European Commission proposes rules on freezing and confiscating assets of oligarchs and other criminals violating restrictive measures

Published in World
Thursday, 26 May 2022 12:16

On 25 May, the European Commission proposed the inclusion of violations of EU restrictive measures in the EU’s list of crimes, in light of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. This will allow to set a common basic standard on criminal offences and penalties across the EU.

The Commission has also proposed new strengthened rules on asset recovery and confiscation, which would also facilitate the implementation of EU restrictive measures. The proposal would modernise EU asset recovery rules, in particular by expanding the powers of Asset Recovery Offices to quickly trace and identify the assets of individuals and entities subject to EU restrictive measures. These powers would also apply to criminally derived assets, including through the urgent freezing of assets where there is a risk that assets may disappear.

“EU sanctions must be respected and those trying to go around them punished. The violation of EU sanctions is a serious crime and must come with serious consequences, said Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s Vice-President for Values and Transparency. “As a Union we stand up for our values and we must make those who keep Putin’s war machine running pay the price.”     

The proposals have been put forward as part of the ‘Freeze and Seize’ Task Force, set up by the European Commission in March.  So far, Member States have reported frozen assets worth €9.89 billion and blocked €196 billion worth of transactions. On 11 April, Europol, jointly with Member States, Eurojust and Frontex, launched Operation Oscar to support financial and criminal investigations targeting criminal assets owned by individuals and legal entities covered by EU sanctions.

Once the EU Member States agree on the Commission’s initiative to extend the list of EU crimes, the Commission will present a legislative proposal based on the accompanying Communication and Annex.

Find out more

Press release

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