European Investment Bank approves €1.59 billion of EU financial assistance for Ukraine

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 26 July 2022 14:18

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank, is providing €1.59 billion, supported by guarantees from the EU budget, to help Ukraine repair the most essential damaged infrastructure and resume critically important projects addressing the urgent needs of Ukrainian people.

This is the second package of support for Ukraine under the EIB Ukraine solidarity urgent response developed in close cooperation with the European Commission. It follows an emergency support package of €668 million fully disbursed within a month of the war’s beginning. Like the first one, this new financing is offered at favourable terms including long tenors.

The package was agreed by the EIB Board of Directors yesterday; €1.05 billion will be made available immediately.

The financing will help essential services to resume and get the most critical infrastructure up and running again, strengthen the country’s resilience and maintain economic stability. It consists of two blocks of intervention:

  • Immediate financial assistance totalling €1.05 billion. This will consist of upfront disbursements under eight existing finance contracts. It will help the Ukrainian government to cover priority short-term financing needs, provide support to strategic state-owned companies, ensure urgent repairs of damaged infrastructure, resume the provision of disrupted municipal services, and support urgent energy and energy efficiency measures in preparation for the cold season.
  • Resuming implementation of EIB-financed projects in Ukraine totalling €540 million where possible, excluding areas of active hostilities and territories not controlled by the Ukrainian government. The selected projects will cover energy, energy efficiency, roads, transport, education and infrastructure, as well as reconstruction and recovery programmes. The exact timing of these disbursements will depend on the state of advancement of underlying projects.

Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People, said: “This EIB support will keep strategic public sector companies financially viable and able to carry out urgent repairs of critical infrastructure, resume the provision of essential services and address other immediate needs of the Ukrainian people, including those displaced by Russia’s war. The European Commission will keep working with EU Member States and our international partners to support Ukraine on every level — for as long as it takes.”

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Press release

Culture Moves Europe: EU rolls out new €21 million mobility scheme for artists and cultural professionals

Published in Culture
Monday, 25 July 2022 16:28

On 20 July, the European Commission signed an agreement with the Goethe-Institut to implement a new €21 million mobility scheme for artists and cultural professionals: Culture Moves Europe.

The new Culture Moves Europe will become a permanent action under the Creative Europe programme and follows the successful I-Portunus pilot project that took place between 2018 and 2022.

It will offer grants to artists, cultural operators, and host organisations from all the sectors covered by the and from the countries participating in the Creative Europe programme (within its CULTURE strand). Emerging artists will receive special attention.

Among the Eastern Partnership countries, Georgia and Ukraine partially participate in the Creative Europe programme. Armenia is also negotiating a partial accession to the programme.

During the next three years, the programme will allow around 7,000 artists, creators and cultural professionals to go abroad for professional development or international collaborations, co-produce, co-create, and present their works to new audiences.

The first calls are expected in autumn 2022.

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Press release

EU expands list of sanctions against individuals and entities supporting Russian aggression against Ukraine

Published in Economics
Friday, 22 July 2022 12:46

The EU has expanded its list of sanctions against individuals and entities supporting Russian aggression against Ukraine. The list of the additional 57 individuals and 10 companies and organisations has been posted in the EU’s official journal. This decision comes in addition to the “maintenance and alignment” package of sanctions adopted by the Council on 21 July 2022.

Personal sanctions under this latest package of sanctions include Sergei Sobyanin, Moscow mayor, Stanislav Chemezov, son of the head of Rostec, Yury Chaika, member of the Russian Federation Council and former prosecutor-general, well-known Russian actors Sergei Bezrukov and Vladimir Mashkov, Alexander Zaldostanov, leader of the ‘Night Wolves’ motorcycle club, and other Russians who actively support Russian aggression against Ukraine. 

The sanctioned entities include Sberbank, a major financial institution, the ‘Night Wolves’, companies operating in the military sector or the shipbuilding industry or involved in the stealing of Ukrainian grain, and a variety of entities that have disseminated pro-Kremlin and anti-Ukrainian propaganda.

The all-Russia ‘Young Army’ Military Patriotic Social Movement, the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), Russkiy Mir Foundation and the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund are also on the sanctions list.

A number of individuals involved in the leadership of the territories of Ukraine occupied by the Russian authorities have also been put on the sanctions list.

Altogether, EU restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine now apply to a total of 1,212 individuals and 108 entities. Those designated are subject to an asset freeze and EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to them. Natural persons are additionally subject to a travel ban, which prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territories.

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EU Foreign Ministers agree extra €500 million in military support to Ukraine

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 20 July 2022 12:25

On 19 July, the EU Foreign Affairs Council reached political agreement on an additional  €500 million in military support for Ukraine under the European Peace Facility (EPF). This disbursement will bring the total amount of military support under the EPF to €2.5 billion.

“Russia is trying to destroy Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation, and at the same time unleash a global food and energy crisis,” said EU High Representative Josep Borrell. “Ministers unanimously agreed on the need to continue to stand firmly with Ukraine and lend it all our support in its fight for freedom and independence. Ukraine needs more arms, we will provide them.”

At the beginning of the meeting, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed EU ministers via video conference, and briefed them about the latest developments on the ground.

The Council also confirmed that it would continue its work on restrictive measures on the basis of a joint proposal from the European Commission and the High Representative, including measures to close loopholes and avoid circumvention. Josep Borrell said that EU sanctions work and the Russian economy is severely affected.

The ministers also said that the EU would continue to support Ukraine in implementing its reform agenda within the European perspective, after it was recently granted the status of candidate country by the European Council. The next EU-Ukraine Association Council should take place on 5 September 2022.

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Press release

EU and 43 countries back Ukraine in its case against Russia at UN International Court of Justice

Published in World
Thursday, 14 July 2022 14:38

A total of 43 countries, including EU Member States and Moldova, as well as the EU itself, have issued a joint statement supporting Ukraine’s application to bring a case against the Russian Federation before the UN International Court of Justice under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This case seeks to establish that Russia has no legitimate grounds for taking military action in Ukraine on the basis of unfounded allegations of genocide.

We reiterate the importance of these proceedings and urge, again, Russia to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine, as ordered by the Court in its Order on Provisional Measures of 16 March 2022,” says the Joint Statement.

The signatories also reiterated that Russia must be held accountable for its actions: “In this regard, we consider that Russia’s violations of international law engage its international responsibility, and that the losses and damage suffered by Ukraine as a result of Russia’s violations of international law require full and urgent reparation by Russia, in accordance with the law of State responsibility.

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NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Ambassador Baiba Braže, today opened the “Russian War Crimes House” exhibition at the NATO Headquarters

Published in World
Tuesday, 12 July 2022 13:26

Ambassador Braže reiterated NATO’s commitment in the Madrid Summit declaration to work with relevant stakeholders to hold all those responsible for war crimes accountable. Speaking in Ukrainian, Ambassador Braže said: “We stand in full solidarity with Ukraine, and we are determined to do all we can to support you. Your courage is an inspiration.”

The Russian War Crimes House exhibition consists of photos and a video depicting Russian atrocities in Ukraine. It will be on display at the NATO headquarters from 6 to 15 July. The exhibition was previously shown in Davos during the World Economic Forum in May 2022. It is organised by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

Today’s opening ceremony was hosted by Ambassador Nataliia Galibarenko, the Head of the Mission of Ukraine to NATO. The Mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, who was himself abducted in March for several days by the Russian forces, spoke in person of the destruction of Ukrainian lives, livelihoods and cities by the Russian invasion. The Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andrii Yermak, and the Ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Korynevych, addressed the audience remotely.

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission providing the framework for our cooperation. Since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, NATO Allies have equipped and trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers. Following Russia’s invasion earlier this year, Allies have stepped up with billions of dollars of weapons and other assistance to help Ukraine uphold its right to self-defence and prevail against Russian aggression.

Source: https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_197815.htm

Ukraine: anti-corruption institutions stand guard over integrity even in times of war

Published in World
Monday, 11 July 2022 11:05

The EU Anti-Corruption Initiative (EUACI) has summarised the work of Ukraine’s anti-corruption institutions during the first four months of Russian aggression. 

EUACI states that dozens of employees of all anti-corruption institutions, without exception, have joined the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or Territorial Defence Forces, and are defending the country with weapons in their hands. “But those who do their regular jobs daily are also fighting in the rear front for the values and principles built together over the years that should also guide the future of Ukraine,” says EUACI.

For example, the total amount of assets in Ukraine and abroad, traced by the Asset Recovery and Management Agency, reached $1 billion. The Verkhovna Rada adopted the Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2021-2025. Eight sentences were delivered by the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC). The HACC also transferred almost 500 million hryvnias of bails for the benefit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The EUACI reminds that an effective fight against corruption is one of the requirements for Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership and a necessary measure to ensure transparency and accountability in the process of post-war reconstruction and restoration of the state.

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Press release

GLOBALink | Czech EU Presidency to focus on consequences of Russia-Ukraine conflict

Published in CHINA
Thursday, 07 July 2022 13:34

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told the European Parliament's plenary session on Wednesday that managing the consequences of the Russia-Ukraine conflict will top the list of priorities of the Czech Republic, which took over the rotating six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) on July 1.

Under the slogan "Europe as a task," the Czech Presidency's five priorities are managing the refugee crisis and Ukraine's post-war recovery; energy security; strengthening Europe's defense capabilities and cyberspace security; the strategic resilience of the European economy; and the resilience of democratic institutions.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Agrarian Policy and Food Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the country's grain harvest is projected to reach 60 million tons this year.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Markiyan Dmytrasevych said Ukraine would have to export between 30 million tons and 40 million tons of grain from this year's harvest to free its storage facilities.

The official said by the end of October, Ukraine will lack capacities for storing 10-15 million tons of grain due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict that damaged storage infrastructure and blocked exports through the Black Sea.

Produced by Xinhua Global Service

 

Borrell: ‘Moscow will have to choose either butter or guns’

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 06 July 2022 17:19

In an article published in the French newspaper ‘Le Journal du Dimanche’, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell said the sanctions against Russia, implemented after the start of the full-scale aggression against Ukraine are already hitting Vladimir Putin and his accomplices hard, and their impact on the Russian economy will intensify over time. 

Borrell explains why and how Western sanctions against Russia are more effective than most people think. Although Russia exports a lot of raw materials, it also has no choice but to import many high value-added products that it does not manufacture. For all advanced technology, it is 45% dependent on Europe, 21% on the United States, and only 11% on China. 

In the military field, which is crucial in the context of the war in Ukraine, the sanctions limit Russia’s capacity to produce precision missiles, such as the Iskander or the KH 101, says Borrell. He also mentions that almost all foreign car manufacturers have decided to withdraw from Russia and the few cars produced by Russian manufacturers will be sold without airbags or automatic transmission. 

The oil industry is suffering not only from the departure of foreign operators but also from the difficulty of accessing advanced technologies such as horizontal drilling,” says the EU high official. “The ability of the Russian industry to bring new wells on stream is likely to be limited. Finally, in order to maintain air traffic, Russia will have to withdraw the majority of its aircrafts from circulation in order to recover the spare parts needed to allow the others to fly. Added to this there is also the loss of access to financial markets, being disconnected from major global research networks and a massive brain drain.”

Borrell also notes that China, contrary to expectations, offers a limited alternative for the Russian economy, especially for high-tech products, because, to date, the Chinese government has not assisted Russia in circumventing Western sanctions. 

Will these significant and growing impacts lead Vladimir Putin to modify his strategic calculations? Probably not in the immediate future: his actions are not guided primarily by economic logic. However, by forcing him to choose either butter or guns, the sanctions lock him in a vice that is gradually tightening,” concludes Josep Borrell.

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Ursula von der Leyen at Lugano conference: “Nothing is impossible to the people of Ukraine”

Published in World
Tuesday, 05 July 2022 10:30

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.

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