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.
The Foreign Affairs Council on 27 of February will start with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review pressing issues on the international agenda.
Republic of Moldova
Foreign ministers will exchange of views on the Republic of Moldova. They will focus among others on the implementation of the deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA), the EU’s engagement with the country and future perspectives ahead of the next parliamentary elections.
They may also discuss the country’s role in the Eastern Partnership and engagement in the field of security. The Council will adopt conclusions on the Republic of Moldova after the debate.
Foreign ministers will discuss the situation in Venezuela which continues to be challenging. The Council will have a discussion on the latest developments and ahead of Presidential elections scheduled for 22 April.
Middle East peace process
The Council will discuss the Middle East peace process. Foreign ministers will continue exploring ways to achieve a two-state solution. They may also follow on up on the extraordinary session of the international donor group for Palestine, the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting held on 31 January.
The discussion will also prepare the lunch with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and foreign ministers members of the LAS ministerial delegation on Jerusalem chaired by Jordan (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian Authority). They will discuss ways to revive the Middle East peace process.
In the beginning of October four suspects were arrested in Moldova for associating with a criminal organisation and trafficking very large amounts of drugs. The arrests were the result of a long-term operation run by the Moldovan authorities (the National Inspectorate of Investigations and the Organised Crime and Special Cases Section of the Prosecution Office), supported and coordinated by Europol.
Europol’s coordinating and supportive role proved critical for the success of the operation. For almost 2 years, Europol acted as the main platform for the exchange of intelligence and for coordinating operational measures between the Moldovan investigators and police services from several EU Member States. Several operational meetings were organised, financed and chaired by Europol in order to enable the investigators to decide and coordinate their operational actions.
Moldovan President Igor Dodon has expressed outrage following the Moldovan Foreign Ministry’s decision to expel five Russian diplomats. The president called it a “direct provocation.”
“I want to say that I am deeply embarrassed by this unfriendly step [taken] by the Moldovan diplomatic service and condemn it in the strongest possible terms,” Dodon wrote in a Facebook post.
The Moldovan leader went on to say that advocates of closer ties with the EU were apparently “so incensed by the success the president managed to achieve in the recent months that they decided to make a direct provocation,” which could result in a “serious deterioration” of bilateral relations with Russia.
Moldova’s President Igor Dodon plans to cancel the agreement on establishing a NATO Liaison Office in the country’s capital of Chisinau. While speaking to Russia’s RT channel, he said that “I will work to cancel this agreement.”
Moldovan president said he was going to meet with heads of NATO countries in Brussels in early February. According to Dodon, during the upcoming meeting, he would like to “find out whether the alliance members are ready to uphold and sign an agreement that would ensure Moldova’s neutral status.”