Grain from Ukraine: European Commission pays to ship 40,000 tons of Ukrainian grain via two boats
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.”
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Georgia: European Commission welcomes Tbilisi’s efforts and recommends candidate status
The European Commission today recommended that the Council grant Georgia the status of a candidate country, outlining nine major steps to be taken by Georgia to get the status.
The Commission welcomed the reform efforts undertaken by Georgia in line with the country’s constitution, which envisages its integration into the EU as a priority for the country.
“An overwhelming majority of Georgian citizens supports the country’s EU accession process. Political depolarisation and more positive engagement by the ruling party with opposition parties and civil society are needed to build consensus on matters of national interest,” the Commission said in its 2023 Communication on Enlargement Policy published today.
The Commission also notes that in relation to the twelve priorities specified in the European Commission Opinion of June 2022, Georgia has adopted legislative acts and policy actions on gender equality and on fighting violence against women, on taking into account European Court of Human Rights judgments in Court deliberations, and on organised crime. It has also appointed a new Public Defender.
In its key findings for Georgia, the EC highlighted that “the reform process has been hampered by continuing political tensions, deep polarisation, the absence of constructive engagement between political parties and the challenges of building consensus on key matters of national interest”.
At the same time, the Commission praised Georgian civil society, which is “well developed, diverse, vibrant and continues to enjoy the freedom to operate”.
The Commission recommended that Georgia be granted the status of candidate country on the understanding that action be taken in a number of areas including to fight disinformation and foreign information manipulation; improve alignment with the EU common foreign and security policy; address the issue of political polarisation; ensure a free, fair and competitive electoral process; ensure a systemic approach to deoligarchisation, and a holistic and effective judicial reform.
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European Commission recommends to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova and grant candidate status to Georgia
The European Commission today adopted the 2023 Enlargement Package, recommending to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, and to grant candidate status to Georgia.
In particular, the report focuses on the progress in the implementation of fundamental reforms, as well as on providing clear guidance on the reform priorities ahead. Accession is and will remain a merit-based process, fully dependent on the objective progress achieved by each country.
In light of the results achieved by Ukraine and Moldova, and of the ongoing reform efforts, the Commission has recommended that the Council opens accession negotiations with both countries. Furthermore, the Commission recommends that the Council adopts the negotiating frameworks once Ukraine and Moldova have adopted certain key measures. The Commission stands ready to report to Council by March 2024 on the progress relating to these measures.
In the case of Georgia, in light of the results achieved, the Commission recommends that the Council grants Georgia the status of a candidate country on the understanding that a number of steps are taken.
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Ukrainian House Opens Its Doors in Tbilisi!
UNDP and Germany promote social integration of Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia
TBILISI. 13 September 2023 — The newly inaugurated Ukrainian House in Tbilisi marks a significant milestone in enhancing support for Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia. The initiative is spearheaded by the Ukrainian community organization “Georgian-Ukrainian Platform” with support from the Government of Germany through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Ukrainian House stands as a symbol of unity and collaboration, committed to supporting Ukrainian nationals who sought refuge in Georgia amidst the devastating war that inflicts unmeasurable suffering upon the Ukrainian people and has profound global repercussions.
This multifunctional space, situated in the heart of Tbilisi, will address the needs of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations and volunteer groups committed to assisting Ukrainian beneficiaries in Georgia. The Ukrainian House will serve as both a communal hub, an operational office space, and a referral point for various socio-economic services tailored for Ukrainian nationals.
In addition to its core mission, the Ukrainian House will be a focal point for cultural exchange. Its dynamic calendar of events will cater to both adults and children, fostering integration and enhancing the growth of Georgian-Ukrainian relations.
The Ukrainian House officially opened its doors on 13 September 2023, during a ceremony attended by Tanja Hutt, Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy in Georgia; Oleksandr Shulha, charge d'affaires of Ukraine in Georgia; Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, Valentina Marjanishvili, Head of the Georgian-Ukrainian Platform, and members of the Ukrainian community in Georgia.
“Germany is proud to contribute to the establishment of the Ukrainian House in Tbilisi. We are confident that this vibrant space will offer support to various Ukrainian community groups in Georgia, while actively fostering social integration," said Tanja Hutt, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Georgia.
“Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has led to the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Nearly one-third of the Ukrainian population was forced to flee their homes, including more than half of all Ukrainian children. Around 25,000 found shelter, security, and hope in Georgia, and UNDP, with the generous support of Germany, is committed to assisting them. We're establishing a community space for Ukrainian civil society organizations, providing grants to entrepreneurs, and offering vital support for employment, recovery, and integration,” said Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia.
"The establishment of the Ukrainian House reflects the close ties between Georgia and Ukraine. This space will offer practical assistance to Ukrainians living in Georgia and will foster connections and nurture talents within our community through cultural and educational events," noted Valentina Marjanishvili, Head of the Georgian-Ukrainian Platform.
The establishment of the Ukrainian House in Tbilisi is part of UNDP’s broader efforts, funded by the Government of Germany, to support refugees and Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia. ln partnership with CARE Caucasus, UNDP boosts economic recovery and income generation for refugees and Ukrainian nationals by creating a grants programme for entrepreneurs and providing business training, employment advice, and job-matching services within Georgia's private sector.
War in Ukraine: European Commission to allocate €500 million to urgently boost EU defence industry
The European Commission today adopted the Act in Support of Ammunition Production (ASAP) to urgently deliver ammunition and missiles to Ukraine and to help Member States refill their stocks.
Together with this regulation, the European Commission proposes to allocate a budget of €500 million in current prices to strengthen the EU’s production capacity in ammunition, missiles and their components.
“This will help supply more ammunition for Ukraine to defend its citizens and it will also strengthen our European defence capabilities,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “Together with the Member States, we will mobilise a further €1 billion to ramp up capacities across Europe. This is a critical part of Europe‘s strategic capacity to defend its interests and values, and help maintain peace on our continent.”
On 20 March, the European Council agreed on a three-track approach calling Member States to jointly procure ammunition and, if requested, missiles, to refill their stocks while enabling the continuation of support to Ukraine.
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European Commission releases €1.5 billion in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine
Today the European Union is providing another €1.5 billion to Ukraine under its annual macro-financial assistance package.
The European Commission made today a third payment of €1.5 billion under the Macro-financial Assistance (MFA)+ package for Ukraine, worth up to €18 billion.
This support will help Ukraine cover its immediate financial needs: to continue paying salaries and pensions and to maintain basic public services such as hospitals, schools and housing for the displaced. It will also allow Ukraine to ensure macroeconomic stability and restore critical infrastructure destroyed by Russia in its war of aggression, such as energy infrastructure, water systems, transport networks, roads and bridges.
Today’s payment comes after the Commission found that Ukraine continued to make satisfactory progress to strengthen the rule of law, enhance financial stability, improve the functioning of the gas system and promote a better business climate.
This finding will also enable the disbursement of two further monthly payments of €1.5 billion each in May and June.
Overall, since the start of the war, the support to Ukraine and Ukrainians amounts to around €68 billion.
“We will continue helping Ukraine resist Russia’s aggression, keep its institutions and infrastructure running, and conduct crucial reforms,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.
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