An important day for ??EU-??Kosovo relations!
1st meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between the European Union and Kosovo
The Stabilisation and Association Council between the European Union and Kosovo held its first meeting on 25 November 2016. This inaugural meeting marks a new important stage in EU-Kosovo relations. During the meeting, discussions focused on reform priorities in several key areas, such as the rule of law & judicial reforms, respect for fundamental rights & public administration reform. Both sides warmly welcomed the signature of the framework agreement on Kosovo’s participation in EU-programmes, which will open up new opportunities for the population of Kosovo, from research to student exchanges.
??EU-??Ukraine summit, Brussels, 24/11/2016
On Thursday 24 November Donald Tusk, President of the European Council hosted the 18th EU-Ukraine summit. He represented the EU together with Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission. President Petro Poroshenko represented Ukraine.
Leaders’ discussions focused on reforms in Ukraine. Since the last summit in 2015 Ukraine has worked on an ambitious reform agenda, with strong EU support.
„We highly rate the efforts of the Ukrainian authorities, including those of President Poroshenko, to implement large-scale reforms in extremely difficult conditions. Ukraine’s success will be the success of all of Europe,” said President Donald Tusk at the press conference following the summit.
The November summit confirmed a further €104 million in support for public administration reform. The representatives of the EU and Ukraine also signed:
- a financing agreement ‘EU Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine’ (€15 million support)
- a Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Energy Partnership between the EU and Ukraine
The summit was an occasion to welcome recent steps towards visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens when travelling to the EU and vice versa. On 17 November the Council agreed its position, demonstrating its commitments to visa-liberalisation for Ukraine, ahead of negotiations with the European Parliament.
Crisis and conflict
EU and Ukraine leaders also discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
„Europe must do everything in its power to make sure that Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and stability are preserved,” said President Tusk. „We continue to support the Minsk process and our sanctions are linked with the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements,” he added.
At the end of the meeting President of Ukraine invited the EU leaders to come to Kiev for the next EU-Ukraine summit in 2017.
The ??EU is stepping up its cooperation on innovation with our Eastern Partnership countries: ??Armenia, ??Azerbaijan, ??Belarus, ??Georgia, ??Moldova & ??Ukraine! The new initiative- EU4Innovation- will boost the innovation capacities of our Eastern partners & increase cooperation with the EU on research & innovation.
2016: The ??EU & Lebanon strengthen their cooperation!
This month, the ??EU & ??Lebanon adopted their partnership priorities for the next 4 years. They cover major topics such as security & countering terrorism, governance & the rule of law, fostering growth & job opportunities, as well as migration & mobility. In addition, they signed a so-called „Compact”, which outlines specific mutual commitments to address the impact of the Syrian crisis. The objective is to improve the living conditions of refugees temporarily staying in Lebanon as well as of vulnerable host communities. ??Lebanon currently hosts at least 1.1 million ??Syrians.
??EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis
„Europe and the countries in Syria’s neighbourhood are facing the biggest refugee crisis since the end of World War II, affecting all of us. Our response must be a joint one if we want to succeed. The EU Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis is one of Europe’s key instruments for delivering on our €3 billion pledge at the London conference on supporting Syria and the region. With more than €730 million committed to the Trust Fund, including from now 22 EU Member States, it has already launched projects for more than €628 million within the first 15 months of operations, focusing on two key priorities agreed in London: to bring all children into school and to invest in livelihoods and social cohesion for both refugees and host communities so as to provide urgently needed perspectives, stabilisation and economic opportunities for the region.„
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and
Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn
The ??EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis provides for a more coherent, faster and integrated EU response to the crisis by merging various EU financial instruments and contributions from Member States into one single flexible and quick mechanism with a target volume of €1 billion expected to be reached by the end of 2016. The Trust Fund primarily addresses longer-term resilience needs of Syrian refugees and IDPs in neighbouring countries, as well as supporting host communities and their administrations. The Trust Fund focuses on non-humanitarian priority needs and may also be adapted to finance transition and reconstruction needs in a post-conflict Syria.
Within this context, the Trust Fund in particular supports priority areas under the Resilience Pillar of the UN-led Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan („3RP”) in response to the Syria Crisis, which, for 2016, appeals for almost USD 2.5 billion in resilience support, an increase of 25% compared to 2015, as well as the priorities agreed on 4 February 2016 at the London conference on „Supporting Syria & the Region”, and relevant areas of the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan, where the Trust Fund is also one of the delivery instruments for the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.
With recent pledges and contributions from 22 EU Member States (amounting to over €72 million), ??Turkey (€24 million co-financing for reoriented IPA I funds) and from various EU instruments (ENI €381 million, IPA €243 million, DCI €16 million), the Fund has now reached a total volume of €736 million. It is also open to all other international donors. The Trust Fund’s scope has been expanded to also cover support to IDP’s in Iraqfleeing from the interlinked Syria/Iraq/Da’esh crisis, to provide flexibility to support affected countries also with hosting non-Syrian refugees, and to provide support in the Western Balkans to non-EU countries affected by the refugee crisis.
Sourse: Council of the European Union