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 GeorgiaWednesday, 08 November 2023 17:16
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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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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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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The EU will be ready to provide financial support for the Black Sea Energy submarine cable project, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on 17 December, attending the signing in the Romanian capital Bucharest of a memorandum of understanding between Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania, which envisages the laying of an underwater electricity cable across the Black Sea.
Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement would bring the European Union closer to its partners in the South Caucasus region, and would help both regions achieve the clean energy transition. “Since the beginning of Russia’s war, we have decided to turn our back on Russian fossil fuels and to diversify towards reliable energy partners, like the partners here around the table. And it is working,” said the European Commission President.
She added the initiative would reinforce energy security in Europe and bring new opportunities to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine: “This project could bring Georgia, a country with a European destiny, great benefits as well. It could transform the country into an electricity hub and integrate it in the EU internal electricity market. Finally, the Black Sea electric cable could also help bring electricity to our neighbours in Moldova and the Western Balkans, and of course to Ukraine – it will help start rebuilding Ukraine’s energy system and the reconstruction of the country.”
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Irakli Garibashvili: By connecting electricity transmission lines and power energy systems of Georgia, Romania, Azerbaijan and Hungary, Europe may not only connect to Georgia, but to the entire region of South CaucasusTuesday, 20 December 2022 10:47
Georgia’s strategic geographic location makes us a natural bridge between the West and the East, serving as a gateway for eight landlocked countries of South Caucasus and Central Asia; a crucial link on EU’s Global Connectivity map and a game changer, when it comes to diversification of transport routes and energy supply to Europe. It was announced by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Plenary Session on Strategic Partnership for Green Energy Development and Transmission held in Romania today.
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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Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, on the margins of the first summit of the European Political Community, in Prague.
The Council of the European Union today formally decided to provide €5 billion of additional macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Ukraine as a matter of urgency.
On 9 September, at an informal meeting of the Ecofin Council in Prague, EU finance ministers agreed to provide an additional €5 billion in assistance for Ukraine. This additional aid was officially approved today after the necessary formal steps were completed in just 11 days.
This financial assistance complements other EU support to Ukraine in the humanitarian, development, customs and defence fields.
This €5 billion macro-financial assistance will be provided to Ukraine in the form of highly concessional long-term loans. It constitutes the second stage in the implementation of the EU’s planned exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine of up to €9 billion, announced by the European Commission this May.
The EU says a decision on the implementation of the third phase of the Union’s exceptional macro-financial assistance of up to €3 billion will be taken shortly, once the structure of this assistance has been determined.
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The European Commission has welcomed the decision by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its infractions of international aviation rules, in order to preserve the safety and security of civil aviation.
The ICAO decision refers to the violation of Ukraine’s sovereign airspace in the context of Russia’s war of aggression, and to the deliberate and continued violation of several safety requirements in an attempt by the Russian government to circumvent EU sanctions. These actions include illegally double-registering in Russia aircraft stolen from leasing companies, and permitting Russian airlines to operate these aircraft on international routes without a valid Certificate of Airworthiness, which is the necessary safety certificate.
Adina Vălean, European Commissioner responsible for Transport, said: “It is of utmost importance for all countries to defend the international aviation rules-based system, for the safety of passengers and crew. Russia continues to disrespect the fundamental rules of international aviation and to instruct its airlines to work against these rules. I welcome the ICAO Council’s clear condemnation, which reflects the gravity of the actions undertaken by Russia.”
ICAO yesterday informed its 193 Member States about Russia’s blatant non-respect of crucial international aviation law and will bring the issue to its next general Assembly, taking place from 27 September to 7 October 2022.