The European Commission today adopted a proposal for a new package of measures to maintain and strengthen the effectiveness of the EU’s six wide-ranging and unprecedented packages of sanctions against Russia.
Today’s “maintenance and alignment” package clarifies a number of provisions to strengthen legal certainty for operators and enforcement by Member States. It also further aligns the EU’s sanctions with those of its allies and partners, in particular in the G7. Importantly, the package reiterates the Commission’s determined stance to protect food security around the globe. The measures also include a ban on the import of Russian gold.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine continues unabated. Therefore, we are proposing today to tighten our hard-hitting EU sanctions against the Kremlin, enforce them more effectively and extend them until January 2023. Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression.”
EU High Representative Josep Borrell added: “Today’s package reflects our coordinated approach with international partners including the G7. In addition to these measures, I will also present proposals to Council for the listing of more individuals and entities, with their assets frozen and ability to travel curtailed.”
Today’s package will introduce a new import ban on Russian gold, while reinforcing dual use and advanced technology export controls. In doing so, it will reinforce the alignment of EU sanctions with those of the G7 partners. It will also strengthen reporting requirements to tighten EU asset freezes.
The package also reiterates that EU sanctions do not target in any way the trade in agricultural products between third countries and Russia. Likewise, the text clarifies the exact scope of some financial and economic sanctions.
Finally, it is proposed to extend the current EU sanctions for six months, until the next review at the end of January 2023.
The package will now be discussed by Member States in the Council in view of its adoption.
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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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Ursula von der Leyen to Ukrainian parliament: investments should be coupled with new wave of reformsFriday, 01 July 2022 15:56
“There is a long road ahead but Europe will be at your side every step of the way, for as long as it takes, from these dark days of war until the moment you cross the door that leads into our European Union,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the Ukrainian parliament during a live video address on 1 July.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal also took part in the plenary session of the Ukrainian parliament.
Von der Leyen praised the bravery of the Ukrainian people in defending their country against Russian aggression: “Your brave soldiers on the frontline are making ultimate sacrifices to defend the soil of Ukraine and its people. And behind the lines, there are countless other Ukrainians working to support this national endeavour.” She also praised the authorities who have kept the state and democracy “up and running against all odds”.
Regarding Ukraine’s candidate status, von der Leyen noted the next steps require “hard work, determination and above all unity of purpose.”
She also announced that next Monday, together with President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Shmyhal, she will participate in the Lugano conference for the reconstruction of Ukraine. “Massive investments will have to come. But to maximise their impact and to foster business confidence, investments will have to be coupled with a new wave of reforms,” added von der Leyen, urging Ukraine to take the fight against corruption.
However, she said that “for instance, no one expects Ukraine to fill in all the posts in your new [anti-corruption] institutions while so many of your best and brightest are fighting on the front”. “But Ukraine’s democracy must be kept on the right track. You have already shown that you can pass important laws even as the war still rages on, and make every day count,” said von der Leyen.
“You are the ones who can change this country for good. And this will be your ultimate victory. A free, prosperous and vibrant Ukraine. A sovereign Ukraine that is finally reunited with our European family. Slava Ukraini,” concluded von der Leyen.
During the President’s address the EU flag was brought into the plenary hall of Verkhovna Rada. “Brought here to stay,” commented the European Commission in Telegram.
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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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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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The European Commission today announced a new aid package of €200 million to support displaced people in Ukraine, in the context of the International Donors’ Conference convened jointly by Poland and Sweden.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today we came together with a clear purpose: to support the brave people of Ukraine, who fight the aggressor and stand up for their freedom. We are now in the 10th week of Russia’s brutal invasion. Ten weeks during which the European Union stood firmly by Ukraine. Today, the European Union answered the call, once more, to support Ukraine. On behalf of the European Commission, I pledged €200 million for Ukraine. And last month, during a pledging event, we raised €9.1 billion for Ukrainians inside and outside Ukraine. We know that more will be needed. And we will continue to stand up for Ukraine.”
Close to 8 million people, two-third of whom are children, have been internally displaced since the beginning of Putin’s war in Ukraine. More than 5.3 million have left Ukraine to seek shelter in the EU and neighbouring countries.
The European Union has been supporting the Ukrainian people from the very beginning of Russia’s brutal invasion, mobilising the EU’s economic power, with series of sanctions designed to drain the resources used by Putin to finance his war.
On the other hand, the EU has already channelled around €4 billion in macro-financial assistance, humanitarian aid and support to Member States welcoming refugees from Ukraine.
Now, the European Commission stands ready to help rebuild the country after the war. Yesterday, President von der Leyen proposed to start working on an ambitious recovery package. It should bring the massive investment needed to rebuild, implement reforms and make Ukraine an attractive place for investments.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
The “Stand Up for Ukraine” global pledging event and campaign has raised €9.1 billion for people fleeing the Russian invasion, inside Ukraine and abroad, including €1 billion from the European Commission. On top of that, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced an additional €1 billion in loan to cover the needs of the people displaced by the invasion.
Speaking today in Warsaw where the event was held, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The solidarity of countries, companies and people worldwide offers some light in this dark hour. The ‘Stand Up For Ukraine’ campaign has raised €9.1 billion for people fleeing bombs, inside and outside Ukraine, with an additional billion pledged by the EBRD. And more will come. We will continue providing support. And once the bombs have stopped falling, we will help the people of Ukraine rebuild their country. We will continue to Stand up for Ukraine.”
Out of these €9.1 billion, €1.8 billion are for internally displaced persons in Ukraine and €7.3 billion are for hosting refugees in EU Member States and neighbouring countries.
The pledge is broken down as follows:
- €4.1 billion are financial contributions and in-kind donations for internally displaced people and refugees pledged by governments, companies and individuals around the world.
- €5 billion are loans and grants from European public financial institutions (the European Investment Bank, and the Council of Europe Development Bank).
Pledges from governments for internally displaced people in Ukraine will be now channelled largely through the Ukrainian authorities, central and local level. Donations from the private sector and individuals for internally displaced people will be channelled mainly through UN agencies.
The Stand Up For Ukraine online pledging event concludes a broader social media campaign launched by the European Commission and the Canadian Government on Saturday 26 March, in partnership with Global Citizen.
The campaign answers a call for support launched by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The aim of the campaign was to raise funding and other types of support to cater for the needs of the people fleeing the invasion inside and outside Ukraine.
In recognition of Poland’s essential role in supporting refugees fleeing the invasion of Ukraine, the Stand Up For Ukraine pledging event took place in Warsaw, with the participation of President Andrzej Duda.
Source: EU neighbours east
The European Union and China held their 23rd bilateral Summit via videoconference on 1 April, bringing together President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping.
The EU and China discussed extensively Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, the world’s economy, food and energy security, and the fight against COVID-19.
The EU called on China to support efforts to bring about an immediate end to the bloodshed in Ukraine, consistent with China’s role in the world as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and its uniquely close relations with Russia.
“As major global powers, the EU and China must work together on stopping Russia’s war in Ukraine as soon as possible. We have a common responsibility to maintain peace and stability, and a safe and sustainable world,” Charles Michel said. “We count on China’s support to achieve a lasting ceasefire, to stop the unjustifiable war and address the dramatic humanitarian crisis it has generated.”
“We underlined that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is not only a defining moment for our continent, but also for our relationship with the rest of the world. There must be respect for international law, as well as for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Ursula von der Leyen, adding that China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has a special responsibility.
Referring to the tightening of sanctions against Russia, von der Leyen said that more than 40 countries in total have joined these sanctions. “So we also made it very clear that China should, if not support, at least not interfere with our sanctions,” she stated in a joint press conference following the summit.
She also said that in terms of bilateral trade between the EU and China, continuing business with Russia carries great reputational risks: “This is a question of trust, of reliability and, of course, of decisions on long-term investments. Let me remind you that every day, China and the European Union trade almost €2 billion worth of goods and services. In comparison, trade between China and Russia is only some €330 million per day. So a prolongation of the war, and the disruptions it brings to the world economy, is therefore in no-one’s interest, certainly not in China’s.”
Stand Up For Ukraine: global pledging event for refugees and internally displaced people to take place in Warsaw on 9 April
The ‘Stand Up For Ukraine’ pledging event, convened by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, will take place in Warsaw on 9 April. Poland’s important role in supporting refugees fleeing the invasion of Ukraine will thus be recognised.
The President of Poland Andrzej Duda will participate alongside President von der Leyen, while Prime Minister Trudeau will participate remotely.
The event will conclude a broader social media campaign launched earlier by the European Commission and the Canadian government at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski. The campaign, in partnership with Global Citizen, an international human rights organisation, aims to raise funding and other types of support to cater for the needs of internally displaced people in Ukraine and of refugees.
‘Stand Up For Ukraine’ seeks to mobilise governments, institutions, artists, companies and individuals to raise funding and other support for Ukrainian IDPs and refugees. Artists from around the world have already joined the campaign, including Bono, Madonna, Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Adam Lambert, Céline Dion, and Alanis Morissette.
According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, more than four million refugees have fled Ukraine since the war began. Poland is hosting more than 2.5 million refugees and plays an important role as a humanitarian hub, dispatching to Ukraine support from all over Europe.