Category Archives: Europe

Ukraine and Moldova EU candidates

Brussels 23.06.2022 Ukraine and Moldova have both been granted the EU candidate status, President of the European Council Charles Michel has announced at the press-conference, following the Summit.
“Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU,” Mr Michel said, describing the European Council’s decision as a “historic moment”.

Ukraine applied on February 28, the days after the Russian invasion, and the process moved at a record speed.
Its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, hailed the EU Council decision.

“It’s a unique and historical moment in Ukraine-EU relations…” he tweeted. “Ukraine’s future is within the EU.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared that “today is a good day for Europe.”

The top EU executive added that the decision strengthens Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, “in the face of Russian imperialism.” The leaders also officially recognized the “European perspective” of Georgia, saying it was moving toward candidate status.

Ukraine scored 32 points out of 100 possible in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2021. Our indicator has decreased by one point, and now Ukraine ranks 122nd out of 180 countries in the CPI.

The information is available on the website of Transparency International Ukraine. The African state of Eswatini (Swaziland) is next to Ukraine. Zambia, Nepal, Egypt, the Philippines, and Algeria are one point ahead — with 33 points each.

On March 20 Ukraine’s President Zelensky announced ban on the activities of 11 political parties in the country, eliminating the entire opposition.

Mélenchon: Assange French citizenship

Brussels 19.06.2022 Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of France’s left coalition NUPES: “If I’m Prime Minister on Monday, Julian will be a naturalised French citizen and we will ask for him to be sent to us. Mr. Assange should be decorated for his services to the French people.”

While the UK Home Secretary Prity Patel approved the extradition of the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange to the US, France’s far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon promises grant him French nationality if he’s appointed Prime minister.

The British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday, Juin 17, approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder and whistleblower Julian Assange to the U.S.

Last December, the U.K. The High Court in London ruled that Assange could be extradited from Britain to the U.S. to face espionage charges. This week the Home Office has signed the extradition order for Assange, which means that he could be sentenced for 175 in the State of Virginia, and as political prisoner vanish forever behind the barbed wire in “gulag”.

In a statement, a Home Office spokesperson said: “In this case, the UK courts have not found that it would be oppressive, unjust or an abuse of process to extradite Mr Assange. Nor have they found that extradition would be incompatible with his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression, and that whilst in the US he will be treated appropriately, including in relation to his health.”

Estonia indignent over Putin’s remarks

Brussels 11.06.2022 President Vladimir Putin paid tribute to Tsar Peter the Great (pictured) on the 350th anniversary of his birth, drawing a parallel between what he portrayed as their twin historic quests to win back Russian lands.

“Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he was at war with Sweden, he took something from them. He did not take anything from them, he returned (what was Russia’s),” Putin said after visiting an exhibition dedicated to the tsar.

“Peter I fought the Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he fought with Sweden and rejected something there. He didn’t reject anything! He returned,” the head of state explained.

He noted that the fate of modern Russia also fell to “return and strengthen” its sovereignty and territories.

In 1721, the Northern War, which had lasted two decades, ended. The result was that the aspirations of the Muscovite tsars to establish themselves on the Baltic shores became a fait accompli. On August 30, 1721, in the town of Nystadt, the Swedes concluded a peace treaty with the Russians: the victories of Russian arms left little hope to win.

Sweden forever parted with Livonia, Estonia, Ingria and part of Karelia with Vyborg. Russia, on the other hand, had to return Finland to the Swedes, and also pay 2 million efimki (silver coins), or 56 tons of silver, for new territories. The money for those days and even today was huge, and in its own way they helped Sweden to improve the economic situation that had been shaken during the war. But the geopolitical losses could not be replenished.

Crimes Group in support of Ukraine

Brusssels 27.05.2022 This week the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom announced the creation of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), a mechanism aimed at ensuring efficient coordination of their respective support to accountability efforts on the ground. The ACA will reinforce current EU, US and UK efforts to further accountability for atrocity crimes in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It advances commitments made by the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom to demonstrate international support and solidarity at this crucial historical moment for Ukraine.

The overarching mission of the ACA is to support the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OPG) in its investigation and prosecution of conflict-related crimes. The ACA seeks to streamline coordination and communication efforts to ensure best practices, avoid duplication of efforts, and encourage the expeditious deployment of financial resources and skilled personnel to respond to the needs of the OPG as the legally constituted authority in Ukraine responsible for dealing with the prosecution of war crimes on its own territory.

EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “It is critical to ensure that all those responsible for the terrible atrocities committed during the unprovoked Russian military aggression in Ukraine are brought to justice. There can be no impunity for war crimes. The Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group will be providing advice and supporting the ongoing efforts of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s War Crimes Units to collect, preserve, and analyze evidence of atrocities to help the investigations and ensure justice takes its course.”

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said: “This initiative will directly support efforts by the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General to document, preserve, and analyze evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed by members of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, with a view toward criminal prosecutions. The ACA is an essential element of the United States’ commitment that those responsible for such crimes will be held to account.”

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “We are determined to ensure those responsible for the vile atrocities committed in Ukraine are held to account. The UK has already made a clear commitment to supporting Ukraine in its investigations, including through deploying war crimes experts to the region and releasing additional funding to aid the ICC in their investigations. We are now stepping up our efforts through this landmark initiative with our partners in the US and EU. Justice will be done.”

General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova said: “There is ample evidence of the atrocities committed by Russia’s forces on the territory of Ukraine against civilians, including children. The creation of this support group and the advice of international experts with experience in other international criminal tribunals and national criminal law practice will help the ongoing work of our teams in investigating and prosecuting these crimes.”

The ACA will bring together multinational experts to provide strategic advice and operational assistance to OPG specialists and other stakeholders in areas such as collection and preservation of evidence, operational analysis, investigation of conflict-related sexual violence, crime scene and forensic investigations, drafting of indictments, and co-operation with international and national accountability mechanisms. This engagement with the OPG and other justice, law enforcement and security agencies of Ukraine has been and will continue to be driven by the needs of the Ukrainian government and the parameters of its support will be developed in close consultation with the OPG. To this end, it will closely associate its activities with the ongoing operational work taking place in cooperation with EU Member States, partner third countries and the International Criminal Court, including the Joint Investigation Team coordinated by Eurojust.

EU €600M assistance to Ukraine

Brussels 23.05.2022 The European Commission, on behalf of the EU, has disbursed €600 million in Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) to Ukraine. Following Russia’s invasion, this urgent financial support helps Ukraine address its acute financing gap related to its exceptional humanitarian and defence needs. The first instalment of €600 million from this emergency Macro-Financial Assistance operation was disbursed in two tranches on 11 and 18 March.

These funds are provided to Ukraine in the form of long-term loans on highly favourable terms. They contribute to financing part of the sizable funding gap of the country, estimated by International Financial Institutions at around $15 billion for the second quarter of 2022. This Macro-Financial Assistance is enhancing Ukraine’s macroeconomic stability and supporting the continuous operation of state functions at this critical juncture. The disbursement is a tangible demonstration of the EU’s unwavering support for Ukraine.

The disbursement follows an assessment of the authorities’ progress with implementing the structural policy measures agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding. The Commission has concluded that the authorities, overall, have taken action towards the implementation of the agreed conditionality. However, the current war circumstances constitute an event of force majeure that impedes the effective completion of the structural policy measures. As an exceptional response to the acute financing needs of Ukraine, and since the conditionality cannot be achieved at this stage for reasons of force majeure, the Commission decided to proceed with the disbursement of the second tranche as a matter of urgency.

“In these extremely difficult times, the EU unwaveringly stands in support of Ukraine and of its courageous people”, President Ursula von der Leyen said. “Today, we disbursed €600 million in emergency Macro-Financial Assistance to address Ukraine’s acute financing needs, thereby ensuring it can keep on running essential services and addressing basic daily needs. Today’s disbursement is the last tranche of the €1.2 billion financial aid package I announced at the end of January. Going forward, the EU will continue to provide short-term financial support to Ukraine while accompanying it in its long-term reconstruction, in line with the plans announced on Wednesday. Ukraine will get back on its feet as a democratic and prosperous country”.

“Europe has not flinched from supporting Ukraine in the face of Russia’s relentless military aggression. Since this invasion began, the EU has provided €4.1 billion to help Ukraine and its people. This includes €1.2 billion in emergency macro-financial assistance – and today, we paid out €600 million to Ukraine as the second tranche of this programme. The EU will continue to provide financial support: this week, we announced new exceptional macro-financial assistance of up to €9 billion in loans and started working on a financial plan for Ukraine’s long-term reconstruction” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President for an Economy that Works for People.

“Two days after we announced our new plan to support Ukraine financially in both the short and long term, today we bring further relief to the country’s budget with the disbursement of the remaining €600 million in emergency macro-financial assistance decided earlier this year. This is a further meaningful contribution to Ukraine’s immediate financing needs, which are under unprecedented pressure due to Russia’s invasion. We stand in solidarity with Ukraine today and will do so tomorrow” Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy said.
Macro-financial assistance (MFA) operations are part of the EU’s wider engagement with neighbouring countries and are intended as an exceptional EU crisis response instrument. They are available to EU neighbourhood countries experiencing severe balance-of-payments problems.

Since the Russian aggression started, the EU has significantly stepped up its support, mobilising around €4.1 billion to support Ukraine’s overall economic, social and financial resilience in the form of macro-financial assistance, budget support, emergency assistance, crisis response and humanitarian aid.

Addressing Ukraine’s significant short-term financial support to sustain basic services, to address humanitarian needs and to fix the most essential destroyed infrastructure will require a joint international effort, in which the Union will be ready to play its part. On 18 May, the Commission set out plans in a Communication for the EU’s immediate response to address Ukraine’s financing gap, as well as the longer-term reconstruction framework. With this Communication, which follows from the European Council call to address the consequences of the war in Ukraine via a dedicated Europe-led effort, the Commission envisages to propose granting Ukraine in 2022 additional macro-financial assistance in the form of loans of up to €9 billion, to be complemented by support from other bilateral and multilateral international partners, including the G7.

Moscow expells European diplomats

Brussels 18.05.2022 Moscow said on Wednesday, May 18, it was expelling a total of 85 embassy staff from France, Spain and Italy in response to similar moves by those countries, highlighting the damage to relations with leading EU members since it launched its war on Ukraine. (Image above: Moscow, City)

The Foreign Ministry said it was ordering out 34 diplomatic staff from France, 27 from Spain and 24 from Italy.

The three countries are among European nations that have collectively thrown out more than 300 Russians since the February 24 invasion. In many cases, they accused Russian diplomats of spying, which Moscow has denied.

Russia’s response has included sending home 45 Polish staff and 40 Germans last month. It has also announced tit-for-tat moves against Finland, Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Japan, among others.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called Wednesday’s announcement by Moscow a “hostile act” and said diplomatic channels must not be interrupted.

France said it deplored the Russian move as an unjustified response to what it said was its own decision in April to expel “several dozen Russian agents acting on our territory under diplomatic status and working against our security interests”.

EU: Sweden moves towards NATO

Brussels 16.05.2022 “Let me stress my strong support to Sweden and Finland. Some minutes ago, I had a conversation with the Swedish Minister [for Foreign Affairs, Ann Linde], who was kind enough to call me, to inform that the process has started, that they are going to inform the King, and that there is strong support for this decision inside the Swedish society and the Swedish political spectrum” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said at the doorstep of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Brussels.

“So, I think the European Union Member States will support this decision, and I hope we could override the opposition of some members of NATO,” he added.

MEPs protect Ukraine women

Strasbourg 05.05.2022 The European Parliament (pictured) debated and will vote on how to protect women fleeing Ukraine from violence and trafficking, and on granting them access to essential health services.

On Thursday, MEPs are set to strongly condemn the use of sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war and to express their deep concern about the growing number of reports of human trafficking, sexual violence, exploitation, rape and abuse faced by women and children fleeing Ukraine. They are expected to call for trafficking networks that profit from sexual exploitation of women refugees to be identified and prosecuted.

MEPs are also set to urge the EU and all host and transit countries to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), particularly emergency contraception and abortion care, including for victims of rape, as well as obstetric care.

According to the UNHCR, more than five million refugees – 90% of whom are women and children – have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion started on 24 February. A further 7.1 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine, including women and children in need of medical care.

AMENDMENT: The European Parliament adopted a resolution (462-19-89) calling on the EU to protect Ukraine women refugees from violence and sexual exploitation.

Borrell: EU stands with Ukraine

Brussels 18.04.2022 “Ukraine is being struck by the most intensive missile attacks by the Russian Federation since weeks. The EU condemns the continued indiscriminate and illegal shelling of civilians and civilian infrastructure by Russian armed forces” reads the statement by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell on the latest indiscriminate attacks by Russia.

“This includes particularly heavy attacks in recent days in the east and south of Ukraine, notably on Ukraine’s Luhansk region, in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Popasna. Major cities, including Kharkiv, continue to be attacked indiscriminately, causing further destruction of civilian lives and infrastructure. Attacks on Lviv and other cities in western Ukraine show that no part of the country is spared from the Kremlin’s senseless onslaught”.

“The EU actively supports the work of the International Criminal Court and measures to ensure accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. There can be no impunity for war crimes”.

“The EU commends the Ukrainian people’s strength, courage and resistance to withstand Russia’s aggression and stands with them in firm solidarity, including by supporting the delivery of military equipment”.

“Russia must immediately and unconditionally cease hostilities and withdraw all forces and military equipment from Ukraine”.

Borrell visits Kyiv

The EU top diplomat Josep Borrel visited Kyiv on Friday, April 8, together with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, to reaffirm European solidarity with Ukraine and to announce additional support for its defense against Russia’s aggression. They met with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal and visited the town of Bucha.

“There are two words to describe what is happening in Ukraine: failure and horror. Failure of the Russian army to overcome the courage of the Ukrainian people and horror over the indiscriminate killings and attacks against civilians,” High Representative Borrell said after the meeting with President Zelenskyy.

He stressed the EU’s appreciation for the bravery and morale of the Ukrainian people, as well as for the resilience of the authorities in maintaining the functioning of the state structures and the capacity to govern, despite the ongoing brutal invasion. With his Ukrainian counterparts Josep Borrell discussed in detail their current needs and acknowledged that their most urgent needs are weapons arms.

“We have already allocated one billion euro to provide weapons to the Ukrainian Army to defend the country and its people. In a couple of days, we will allocate €500 million more. We will make sure that these resources will be tailored to your needs, to provide you with the arms you need to fight to resist and to win,” stressed High Representative Borrell also at the meeting with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

In the wake of massacres by the Russian occupation forces in Bucha, he recalled the EU’s strong condemnation of the heinous crimes and widespread violations by Russian troops. He underlined that there cannot be impunity for war crimes and outlined the EU support to the ongoing national and international accountability efforts, including the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The High Representative said that the European Union will help, too, with documentation and prosecution of war crimes committed by Russian occupation troops in Ukraine.

“We will help the Ukrainian Prosecutor General to present the proofs in front of the International Criminal Court. Our civilian EU Advisory Mission will deploy their tools and capacities in order to support Ukrainian authorities in this task.”

The EU Advisory Mission will be supporting the Ukrainian Prosecutor General in providing training and donating equipment to ensure safe investigation and collection of evidence on the ground. The EU is also launching a dedicated €7.5 million euro project to support the investigations with ensuring large data collection on missing and disappeared persons.

During his visit in Ukraine High Representative Borrell [europa.eu/!tWtJHj]announced the return of the EU Delegation back to Kyiv, after its temporary relocation to Rzeszow in Poland. In talks with Prime Minister Shmyhal they agreed to accelerate preparations for the next EU-Ukraine Association Council, to take place in the near future.

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