Tag Archives: EU Council

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.

EU: Lebanon restrictive measures

Brussels 30.07.2021 Today the Council adopted a framework for targeted restrictive measures to address the situation in Lebanon. This framework provides for the possibility of imposing sanctions against persons and entities who are responsible for undermining democracy or the rule of law in Lebanon through any of the following actions:

obstructing or undermining the democratic political process by persistently hampering the formation of a government or by obstructing or seriously undermining the holding of elections;
obstructing or undermining the implementation of plans approved by Lebanese authorities and supported by relevant international actors, including the EU, to improve accountability and good governance in the public sector or the implementation of critical economic reforms, including in the banking and financial sectors and including the adoption of transparent and non-discriminatory legislation on the export of capital;
serious financial misconduct, concerning public funds, insofar as the acts concerned are covered by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and the unauthorised export of capital.

Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

EU: Slovenia Presidency

Brussels 03.07.2017 Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU: 1 July – 31 December 2021
The priorities of Slovenia’s presidency are driven by its motto: ‘Together. Resilient. Europe.’
The presidency’s programme focuses on four main areas:

– EU’s recovery, resilience and strategic autonomy
– reflection on the future of Europe
– European way of life, the rule of law and European values
– increasing security and stability in the European neighbourhood

The Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU will strive to actively contribute to strengthening the EU’s resilience to health, economic, energy, climate and cyber crises. Working together, supporting each other and acting in solidarity for the good of each and every European citizen will be key to strengthening the EU’s resilience.​ (Image above: Ljubljana)

Kremlin draws unfriendly states list

Brussels 17.05.2021 The Czech Republic and the United States have been put on Russia’s blacklist of unfriendly states because of their hostile steps against Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday, May 17. (Image: Moscow, Russia, photo Evgeny Grabovsky)

Russia to judge US calls to normalization by actions, not words, top diplomat says
“Their unfriendly steps were the reason why we took a decision to even the conditions our diplomatic missions are working on in each other’s territories – ours in the Czech Republic and the United States, and, correspondingly, theirs in Russia. As a concrete step that had already been announced, we asked them to reduce their locally hired personnel, both Russian nationals and citizens of third countries, to the level of the analogous category of employees we have in our missions in the Czech Republic and the United States,” he told a news conference when answering a TASS question.

He noted that the Czech Republic was “disgracefully” trying to get out of the situation “with the explosions of seven years ago.” “No one has been able to explain what the investigation has been doing all these years,” he said. “They are tying themselves into knots, so to say, inventing more and more theories. They’d better straighten out the tangle before expelling diplomats and accusing them of what the investigation has not yet found out. And, by the way, judging by how they are doing it, the investigation is unlikely to yield any concrete results,” he said.

“In the United States, you know, our diplomatic property was arrested and for years we have been denied access there to see the condition Russia’s national property that was illegally seized is in. Expulsions of Russian diplomats happen regularly,” Lavrov said, adding that Moscow had repeatedly warned that it could not last forever.

Last Friday, Russia made public a government-endorsed list of unfriendly states featuring only the United States and the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic will be allowed to hire no more than 19 Russian nationals to work for its embassy, and the United States, not a single one.

“The European Union deplores the publication of Measures in “Response to Unfriendly Actions of Foreign States”, following the unprecedented Decree signed by President Putin on 23 April. The EU considers the allegations of unfriendly actions as unfounded”.

“This Decree is incompatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 with regard to the duties of the host state to secure the functioning of diplomatic missions.

“We call on Russia to review its decision, to avoid a further deterioration of our relationship that is already under strain. The EU will continue to coordinate its position with its partners.

“We express full solidarity with the Czech Republic, an EU Member State, and the United States of America and call on Russia to fully respect the Vienna Convention”.

EU provides €3bn assistance to partners

The Council today adopted a decision to provide up to 3 billion euros of macro-financial assistance to ten enlargement and neighbourhood partners to help them cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial assistance will be provided in the form of loans on highly favourable terms and allocated as follows:

Albania: €180 million
Bosnia-Herzegovina: €250 million
Georgia: €150 million
Jordan: €200 million
Kosovo*: €100 million
Moldova: €100 million
Montenegro: €60 million
Republic of North Macedonia: €160 million
Tunisia: €600 million
Ukraine: €1200 million.

EU assistance will help these jurisdictions cover their immediate financing needs which have increased as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Together with the support from the International Monetary Fund, the funds will help enhance macroeconomic stability and create space to allow resources to be allocated towards protecting citizens and to mitigating the negative socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

EU committed to Western Balkans

Initially foreseen to happen in the capital of Croatia, the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit has taken place on 6 May 2020 via video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU is the most important partner of the Western Balkans region and the video conference has underlined the significance of the unique EU-Western Balkans relations. The summit has provided an opportunity to highlight mutual solidarity and cooperation in these time of pandemic crisis. Partners in the region have contributed to help EU member states while the European Union has mobilised over €3.3 billion to help Western Balkans deal with the coronavirus outbreak consequences.

“We, the leaders of the European Union (EU) and its Member States, in consultation with Western Balkans leaders, and in the presence of regional and international stakeholders, today reiterate our strong solidarity with our partners in the context of the coronavirus crisis. In these unprecedented times, we have concluded the following:

“Recalling the 2000 Zagreb, the 2003 Thessaloniki and the 2018 Sofia Summits, the EU once again reaffirms its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. The Western Balkans partners reiterated their commitment to the European perspective as their firm strategic choice. The credibility of this commitment depends also on clear public communication and the implementation of the necessary reforms”

“Summed up in Zagreb declaration, confirming European perspective for the Western Balkans and solidarity in the face of COVID-19 pandemic. Strong and important signal for the region. The European Commission will deliver robust economic & investment plan” the Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said.

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament welcomes the Zagreb declaration agreed today during EU – Western Balkans summit by the heads of state and government from EU Member States and the leaders of the six Western Balkans partners. The summit, which was supposed to be held in Zagreb, took place by video conference shortly after the EU mobilised a financial package of over EUR 3.3 billion for the Western Balkans in order to support the region in tackling COVID-19 and sustain the post-pandemic recovery.

President of the Renew Europe Group, Dacian Cioloş (PLUS, Romania), said:

The long-awaited summit is a clear confirmation that Western Balkan countries belong to the European family and that enlargement continues to be high on European Union’s agenda.

The meeting held today reconfirms the two-way commitment of the enlargement process: on one hand, the EU’s determination to further intensify its engagement at all levels to support the region’s political, economic and social transformation and on the other hand, the pledge of the Western Balkans to uphold European values and principles and to carry out the necessary reforms. The revised accession methodology will facilitate this two-way commitment and ensure concrete benefits faster for citizens of both sides.

The COVID-19 crisis brought to the strong need for solidarity and mutual support inside the European Union and with our neighbours and partners. Since the beginning of the crisis the EU ensured significant support for the Western Balkan countries and will continue to do so, proving to be the most helpful and reliable partner of the region.”

MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk (Movement for Rights and Freedom, Bulgaria), Renew Europe Vice-Coordinator of the Foreign Affairs Committee and EP standing rapporteur on North Macedonia, added:

“I welcome the Western Balkans summit and its conclusions. The decision to provide over €3.3 billion of EU financial support for the Western Balkan countries to fight COVID-19 is crucial and will help the region to overcome the health crisis. Despite the difficult times, Europe has once again shown that it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its Western Balkans partners and reaffirmed its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the region. After the European Council agreed in March to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, we have to continue backing the Western Balkans with the reforms needed on their EU path because their future lies in European Union. Our political, economic and social engagement and the expression of solidarity are a driving force of integration and demonstrate that EU enlargement can be a success story.”

EU Council response to COVID19

Today 17 March, Members of the European Council held a videoconference on COVID 19 in order to follow up on previous conclusions of 10 March 2020 together with the ECB President, the President of the Eurogroup and the High Representative:

“We reaffirmed the need to work together and to do everything necessary to tackle the crisis and its consequences.

The priority is the health of our citizens.

On the four priorities identified:

1. Limiting the spread of the virus

We endorsed the guidelines proposed by the Commission on border management. We need to ensure passage of medicines, food and goods and our citizens must be able to travel to their home countries. Adequate solutions for cross-border workers will be found.

To limit the spread of the virus globally, we agreed to reinforce our external borders by applying a coordinated temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU for a period of 30 days, based on the approach proposed by the Commission.

2. Providing medical equipment

We welcomed the decision taken by the Commission to adopt a prior authorisation for export of medical equipment.

We supported the Commission effort to (1) engage with the industry; (2) to run joint public procurements that have been recently launched and those which will be shortly finalized to provide sufficient protective equipment; (3) and purchase of protective equipment through the Civil protection framework.

3. Promoting research

We encouraged the efforts made to support research such as the Advisory Group on COVID 19.

We stressed the need to share information and to develop a vaccine and make it available to all those in need. We will support European companies in that respect.

4. Tackling socio-economic consequences

We endorsed the Eurogroup 16 March statement and invited the Eurogroup to continuously and closely monitor economic and financial developments and to adapt without delay a coordinated policy response to the rapidly evolving situation.

We supported the various initiatives taken by the Commission in the areas of the Single Market, such as the adaptation of the State Aid rules and the use of the flexibilities provided for in the Stability and Growth Pact and the recourse to the EU budget.

The Union and its Member States will do whatever it takes to address the current challenges, to restore confidence and to support a rapid recovery, for the sake of our citizens.

5.Citizens stranded in Third countries

We committed to coordinate among our embassies and the EU delegations in third countries. The High Representative and the European External action service will support in this regard.

We will jointly arrange repatriation of EU citizens, where necessary and possible, and make use of the Union’s Civil protection mechanism. Additional EU funding for such joint operations will be mobilised.

Member States and institutions will follow-up at all levels immediately. The members of the European Council will come back to this issue in a videoconference next week. The ordinary European Council scheduled for 26-27 March will be postponed to a later date.

Sassoli defends MEPs position on EU budget

President David Sassoli reminded EU leaders Parliament approval is needed for the EU seven years budget (MFF) and said MEPs would not accept agreement irrelevant to the European ambitions.

Sassoli was speaking at the start of an EU Council (EUCO) aimed at finding an agreement between member states on the EU’s next long-term budget. The budget for 2021-2027 will be the first since the UK left the EU.

The speaker told the heads of state and government that Parliament was prepared to reject any agreement that did not give the EU the means to address the many challenges it faces.

“We must equip the Union with all the means necessary to address the challenges that we face together,” he said. “The first and most urgent is climate change. The Green Deal offers an ambitious plan for Europe to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. Achieving this will require a major financial effort.

“We need resources to boost growth and development, and to support countries, businesses, and people through this transition. We also need to invest in research to ensure Europe is at the forefront and does not need to rely on importing new technologies to whose development it has not contributed.”

He also said that “the artificial dichotomy between net contributors and beneficiaries” should be broken. “All member states, without exception, profit from the EU.”

Parliament agreed its position on the long-term budget in 2018. Any agreement can only come into effect if approved by the Parliament.

Michel invites to EU Council

*Following the meetings held at Sherpa level, I have decided to call a special meeting of the European Council that will begin on 20 February 2020″ reads letter of the EU president Charles Michel, inviting the EU leaders to the Council.

https://twitter.com/eucopresident/status/1221101581971730434?s=21

*The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the Multiannual Financial Framework.

*Any postponement would create serious practical and political problems and jeopardise the continuation of current programs and policies as well as the launch of new ones.

*I am fully aware that these negotiations are among the most difficult ones we have to face. But I am also convinced that with common sense and determination we can strike a deal that will benefit all Europeans.

*To achieve this, all sides will need to demonstrate a spirit of compromise. I count on your support in this respect.

*In the coming days I will consult with you before tabling an overall proposal in view of the February meeting, which will be prepared in the usual fashion.*

Europe biodiversity threatened

“In its conclusions , the Council reaffirms that the EU and its member states will lead and step up efforts to halt biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems. The conclusions provide political guidance for the work towards a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The Council also calls upon the Commission to develop without delay an ambitious, realistic and coherent 2030 EU biodiversity strategy as a central element of the European Green Deal.

“Member states unanimously stress the need for urgent global action at all levels to halt biodiversity loss. The Council notes with serious concern the alarming state of nature, with around one million species at risk of extinction, and the severe implications of unabated climate change. The Council underlines the importance for the EU and its member states to develop and adopt national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) for achieving the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

https://twitter.com/a_perrodet/status/1202654329993228288?s=21

“The Council is committed to leading by example and making a robust contribution to the adoption of an ambitious and realistic post-2020 global biodiversity framework to halt the loss of and restore biodiversity by 2030. It is also committed to mainstreaming biodiversity into all relevant EU policies such as the new common agricultural policy (CAP). Member states unanimously underline the need to eliminate subsidies harmful to biodiversity and to enhance the review of the implementation and accountability of nature and biodiversity policies, actions and commitments, with the aim of stepping up actions on all levels.

“In addition, the Council calls for the full, effective and coherent integration of biodiversity into the design and implementation of the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021-2027 as well as in future policies such as the common fisheries policy and the circular economy action plan. Member states will accelerate the transition towards a resource-efficient, safe, circular and climate-neutral economy that also protects and restores biodiversity and ecosystem services.

“Member states underline the importance of making domestic and international financial flows, including in public procurement, consistent with the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

“The Council will revert to this issue in order to adopt a mandate for the EU position in the negotiations at the UN biodiversity conference (CBD COP15) in October 2020 in Kunming, China. The landmark conference is due to agree a post-2020 global biodiversity framework.”

« Older Entries