One year ago today, the European Commission and the High Representative set out plans for a targeted EU response to support partner countries' efforts in tackling the Coronavirus pandemic combining resources from the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions, as ‘Team Europe'. By 1 January 2021, Team Europe had already supported partner countries around the world with more than €26 billion, 65% of the overall response package that now stands at over €40 billion and exceeding the original €20 billion pledged.
The ongoing pandemic has carried severe health, social and economic consequences around the world, including in Afghanistan. In many developing countries, debt levels were already high before the crisis and are now at risk of becoming unsustainable.
Afghanistan has to cope with sharply declining revenue as a consequence of the crisis, driven by restrictions on economic activity and trade. Tax revenue dropped by 40 % in April–May 2020 while the expenditure burden for health and other social services increased.
03/04/2021 – HR/VP Blog - The humanitarian situation in the Ethiopian Tigray region remains very serious. This conflict threatens also to destabilise the whole Horn of Africa. I have asked Pekka Haavisto, Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, to travel to Ethiopia to repeat our requests to the government and assess the situation. For the EU, helping to stop the human right abuses in the Tigray region and restore peace in Ethiopia is a high priority.
Following a mild winter with rain and snowfall below normal, the livelihood of large parts of the rural population is severely impacted. The European Union is mobilizing additional humanitarian funds for immediate action, in the areas most affected. The support, amounting to EUR 200 000, will target the provinces of Badghis, Baghlan and Faryab and will provide emergency food assistance.
30/03/2021 – HR/VP Blog – Last week, the European Council opened what could be a new chapter in EU-Turkey relations. EU leaders are ready to engage on important avenues of cooperation including the modernisation of the Customs Union, the relaunching of high-level dialogues and people-to-people contacts, plus strengthened cooperation on migration management.
26/03/2021 – HR/VP Blog – Despite initial setbacks, the EU is working hard to accelerate the internal roll out of COVID-19 vaccines. At the same time, we are already contributing in a very significant way to the global vaccination drive via exports and the international COVAX facility.
On 24 March, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, and the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Antony J. Blinken met in Brussels to discuss ways to strengthen the EU-U.S. relationship and coordinate responses to priority foreign policy, security, and economic issues.
The Council today decided to impose restrictive measures on eleven individuals and four entities responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses in various countries around the world. Together with the listing of four Russian individuals earlier this month, these 15 designations are part of the first broader package of listings under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. The sanctions signal the EU’s strong determination to stand up for human rights and to take tangible action against those responsible for violations and abuses.