Category Archives: development

COVID19: EU allocates Kyrgyzstan €36M aid

Аs part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus outbreak in Kyrgyz Republic, a support package of €36 million will assist the gouverment of the Central Asian country in addressing immediate needs in the health sector and in its short- and longer-term socio-economic recovery. The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell discussed the importance of intensified regional cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus, and welcomed the commitment of Central Asian leaders in this respect.

On 7 May, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, held a phone call with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic, Chingiz Aidarbekov. They discussed the global response to the coronavirus pandemic and the EU’s support to Kyrgyzstan in that context, as well as the EU-Kyrgyzstan bilateral agenda and broader regional issues.

The high diplomat conveyed the EU’s strong solidarity with Kyrgyzstan in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The High Representative stressed that the EU continued to be a reliable and committed partner for countries around the world, including Kyrgyzstan and the other countries in the region.

High Representative Borrell and Foreign Minister Aidarbekov welcomed progress in EU-Kyrgyzstan relations, which is centred around a broad reform agenda, sustainable development, and shared principles and values, including human rights, as illustrated by the initialling last year of an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Josep Borrell welcomed the willingness of Kyrgyzstan to sign the agreement by the end of the year and stressed the importance of developing bilateral relations across all areas, as well as regional cooperation under the EU’s Central Asia Strategy.

COVID19: Uzbekistan receives EU aid

On 4 May, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell held a phone call with the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, Abdulaziz Kamilov, to discuss the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EU’s support to Uzbekistan in respect of this challenge, the EU-Uzbekistan bilateral agenda, and broader regional issues relating to Central Asia.

The head of the EU diplomacy passed a message of European solidarity with Uzbekistan in the face of the common challenge represented by the coronavirus pandemic. Borrell outlined the measures that the EU has prepared for Uzbekistan and the other countries of Central Asia to assist their efforts to tackle the pandemic and its impact.

As part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus outbreak, a support package of €36 million will assist Uzbekistan in addressing immediate needs in the health sector and in its short- and long-term socio-economic recovery. The EU High Representative and the Foreign Minister discussed the importance of enhanced regional cooperation to cope with the pandemic and its repercussions.

Borrell also thanked the Foreign Minister for his government’s assistance in facilitating the repatriation of EU citizens from Uzbekistan.

High Representative Borrell and Foreign Minister Kamilov also discussed EU-Uzbekistan relations. They confirmed their ambition to conclude negotiations on an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement as soon as possible. Borrell expressed the EU’s support for Uzbekistan’s application to become a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

EU allocates €3.3bn to Western Balkans

Ahead of the 6 May meeting between the EU and the region, the European Union reinforces its support to the Western Balkans to address the coronavirus crisis.

As announced on April 29, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank will mobilise over €3.3 billion to benefit the citizens of the Western Balkans. This support will continue addressing the immediate health and resulting humanitarian needs of the COVID-19 pandemic and will help with the social and economic recovery of the region.

The EU and the Western Balkans are facing this crisis together. Given their European perspective, the EU has included the Western Balkans in several initiatives and instruments reserved for EU Member States. These include the joint procurement of medical equipment, exempting the region from the EU’s export authorisation scheme for personal protective equipment and the supply by the EU of testing material. The EU has also ensured the fast flow of essential goods across land borders through “green lanes”. The region is also associated to the work of relevant EU health bodies as well as to the research and innovation effort.

With today’s package, the EU sent another strong and clear signal that it will continue to support the Western Balkans partners.

This support also extends to the reforms needed to advance on the EU path, considering that the post-COVID-19 recovery will only work effectively if the countries keep delivering on their commitments related to the EU accession. In this context, Western Balkans partners are encouraged to strongly focus on the reforms related to rule of law, the functioning of democratic institutions and public administration.

Once the immediate COVID-19 crisis is over, an Economic and Investment Plan for the region will be put forward later this year to support long-term recovery, economic growth and reforms required to move forward on the EU path. (Image North Macedonia, archive)

EU calls Haiti to avoid violence

“The grave deterioration of the living conditions of the Haitian population and profound worsening of the security situation together with a slowdown of economic activity and challenges the Haitians face on a daily basis have provoked serious, long-lasting and violent social unrest.

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“The right to demonstrate freely and peacefully needs to be ensured while violence by both sides must be avoided under all circumstances to prevent further instability and suffering of the population.

“The engagement of all actors in a frank, open and inclusive inter-Haitian dialogue should lead to an urgent consensus to better respond to the basic needs of the population and should identify realistic and lasting solutions to the current political, economic and humanitarian crisis.

“The European Union is committed to support the Haitian people on their path to stability, development and democracy, including the rule of law, and will cooperate closely with its international partners to this end.

EU €100M for Lebanon-Jordan-Iraq refugees

The EU – via the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis – adopted a €100 million new assistance package to support the resilience of refugees, internally displaced person (IDP) host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. This will be done through the strengthening of public service delivery systems, improved access to higher education, and improved child protection services.

With this new package €1.6 billion out of a total of €1.8 billion mobilised by the EU Trust Fund have now been turned into financing concrete actions helping refugees and host countries alike. 

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented: “The EU delivers on its commitments. With these additional €100 million of assistance, the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis continues to support refugees to become increasingly economically self-reliant. Through access to income generating opportunities, they are able to take their livelihoods in their own hands, provide for themselves, and preserve their dignity. At the same time we are supporting host communities and Syria’s neighbours in their effort to expand their economies while coping with challenges related to the conflict which is still ongoing”.

The newly adopted €100 million aid package consists of the following actions:

  • €55 million to support the resilience of refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq; 
  • €28.4 million for access to higher education for refugees and vulnerable host youth in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq; 
  • €12.5 million to provide protection services to children and women victim of gender based violence in Lebanon;
  • €3.6 million to continue and strengthen the Trust Fund’s horizontal monitoring and evaluation framework.

This assistance package has been adopted by the EU Trust Fund’s Operational Board, which brings together the European Commission, fifteen EU Member States, and Turkey. Observers of the Operational Board include members of the European Parliament, representatives from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the World Bank, and the Syria Recovery Trust Fund.

The EU Trust Fund is now in its fifth year of implementation, but the Syria crisis is far from being over. Over time, the needs have changed and the Trust Fund has evolved from providing early recovery assistance focusing on addressing basic needs of those affected by the Syria crisis to equipping refugees and local communities with tools and skills for greater self-reliance. The Trust Fund also focuses on reinforcing the national systems for public service delivery to meet refugee and local community needs in the longer term. Currently 67 projects have been contracted to implementing partners on the ground.

 

 

 

Half a billion EU aid to Afghanistan

The European Commission has today announced a financial package worth €474 million to support state building and public sector reforms, health, justice, and elections, as well as to address migration and displacement challenges in Afghanistan. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, made the announcement today at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, signing the financing agreements with the Afghan Minister of Finance Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi.

 

“The EU stands side by side with Afghanistan and its people to build a stronger future for the country. The EU’s new assistance package of €474 million will contribute towards addressing peace and security challenges and set up the foundations for a more stable and economically sustainable society. Through joint efforts we intend to reduce aid-dependency and invest in democratic governance for the benefit all citizens of the country”, Commissioner Mimica said.

The EU support package consists of:

Budget support through a State and Resilience Building Contract: the EU will support the Government of Afghanistan in pursuing its reform agenda with an allocation of €311 million. Funding will support: public sector reform and the fight against corruption; basic service delivery and gender equality; public financial management and macro-economic stability with a particular focus on domestic revenue mobilisation. Human rights, democratic values, peace and gender equality will continue to be at the core of EU action and in its discussions with the Government of Afghanistan.

Justice sector: €31 million will support justice reform by supporting the Attorney General’s office to become more effective and Afghan civil society to ensure that the Afghan justice system is accountable to citizens.

Health and nutrition: zero hunger and quality health for all remain central priorities of the European Union in the country. With a new €80 million support package, the EU will work in partnership with the Government of Afghanistan to improve the health and nutrition of the population, in line with the national plans and strategies until 2020.

Electoral process support: an ad hoc instrument worth €15.5 million will support the presidential and provincial council elections in 2019.

Migration and forced displacement: The European Union and the Government of Afghanistan signed a new commitment worth €37 million, which reinforces EU assistance to Afghanistan in addressing migration and forced displacement challenges, in particular the reintegration of people on the move and returnees in Afghanistan. This commitment brings the total EU contribution to the challenges in the region in this field to almost € 230 million.

We believe that this is the moment to begin serious peace talks. All of us at this table have something to contribute. On the European Union’s side, we are ready: as a facilitator; as a reliable provider of incentives; as a partner of all countries in the region; as a force for peace and cooperation; and, most importantly, as a reliable friend of the Afghan people” EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said, addressing the Geneva conference.

EU supports Nobel Prize winners projects

The European Commission has announced an additional €5 million in support of concrete projects of the two 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege maintaining its commitment to women who are victims of sexual violence.

This new support was announced  in Brussels as the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Development, Neven Mimica, met with Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege. The two winners were invited to discuss the eradication of violence against women and its impact on development, together with EU development Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council.

“As the European Union, we admire the immense courage and tireless work of Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege, who often put their own lives at risk. We have a duty to support their work and all the people they represent, as we are doing, and this is also the best way to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” Mogherini said.

“Violence against women and girls is one of the most horrendous crimes, one of the greatest injustices of our time, and an obstacle to the development of any society. I am very pleased to be able to strengthen our support for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates. This is how the European Union can help put an end to sexual violence, once and for all, everywhere in the world”, Commissioner Neven Mimica added

The EU plans to strengthen its ongoing stabilisation and reconstruction efforts in the Sinjar region in Iraq through a €1 million contribution to Nadia Murad’sSinjar Action Fund” initiative. European development cooperation in the liberated areas of Da’esh in the country supports in particular the needs of displaced populations, vulnerable groups and local communities.

A further €4 million will support Dr Mukweges work to ensure the continuity of support programmes for victims of sexual violence and women suffering from gynecological conditions at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This initiative for the reconstruction of Sinjar will create infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and encourage the return of displaced populations to their homeland.

Since 2014, the European Union’s development cooperation in Iraq amounts to approximately €310 million. Part of this funding is specifically dedicated to the stabilisation and the socio-economic reconstruction of the areas liberated from Da’esh. EU support helps create the conditions for sustainable return of displaced people, including by clearing contaminated sites, restoring basic services and providing livelihoods. Since the beginning of the crisis, more than 1.7 million displaced people have returned to their homes.

The European support for the two 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates is part of its broader commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment globally. The EU has established an ambitious partnership with the United Nations by launching the “Spotlight Initiative” in September 2017. This programme is supported by €500 million to fight all forms of violence against women and girls.

Following the South-East Asia programme of the Spotlight initiative launched in November 2017 and the Latin America programme launched in September 2018, the Africa programme will be officially launched in early 2019. With €250 million in funding, the Africa programme will focus on combating harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation and forced child marriage.

EU to assist reconstruction of Iraq

EU diplomatis put forward the strategy for Iraq in order to address the challenges the country faces following the territorial defeat of Islamic State (Daesh).

The proposal outlines both ongoing and longer term EU support to the country, fully taking into account the Iraqi government’s priorities.

“Iraq is at a crossroads in its history following the territorial defeat of Da’esh at great sacrifice, – top diplomati Federica Mogherini,  said, calling to act “quickly” to rebuild the country with “all components” of Iraqi society. She also used an opportunity to promote human rights and rule of law, supporting national reconciliation:

“…Only inclusiveness can guarantee true reconciliation so that Iraqis can close once and for all with the past. This needs international support and we are ready to contribute, to keep supporting the Iraqi people and government in these challenges, for the sake of the people of the country and the region”.

The strategy focuses on delivering continued EU humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people and facilitating the stabilisation of areas liberated from ISIS, with three million displaced Iraqis still unable to return home. It also seeks to address the longer term reform, reconstruction and reconciliation efforts that Iraq needs to pursue in order to consolidate peace and build a united, democratic country in which all citizens can fully enjoy their rights in greater prosperity.

The EU’s support focus on the following strategic objectives:

  • Preserving the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and supporting Iraqi efforts to establish a balanced, accountable and democratic system of government;
  • Promoting sustainable, knowledge-based and inclusive economic growth;
  • Strengthening Iraq’s national identity and reconciliation amongst its diverse communities;
  • Promoting an effective and independent justice system;
  • Addressing migration challenges,
  • Supporting Iraq’s good relations with all its neighbours.

The actions proposed in the Joint Communication will be discussed with EU Member States at the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 January and with the European Parliament, and will contribute to a new EU strategy for Iraq.

 

EU strategy on Afghanistan enforced

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini and the European Commission have adopted a Joint Communication on elements for an EU strategy on Afghanistan to set out their vision for support of Afghanistan both  addressing  the ‘delicate security situation’ and the ‘fragile economic situation’ it is facing in view of bring about positive change for the Afghan people.

“The Afghan people deserve peace and prosperity. As the European Union, we have been standing by them and will continue to do so, in support of the reform process, of Afghanistan’s democratic path, of the rule of law and human rights, and of bringing peace to the country, to the benefit not only of all Afghans but also of the entire region and the international community as a whole” – Mogherini said.

“Afghanistan is not alone. We will continue the support which we have been providing since 2002 – to make sure that the development achievements of the last years are not lost” Neven Mimica, the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said.

 The Joint Communication focusses on five priority areas, namely: peace, stability and regional security; democracy, the rule of law and human rights; economic and human development; migration; and empowering women and proposes ways in which the European Union can work, in close cooperation with civil society, the Afghan authorities, and all stakeholders, towards lasting peace, a consolidated democracy, equitable development and social justice in Afghanistan