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In a bid to boost connectivity and economic growth in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, the European Commission and the World Bank have co-authored an Indicative trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Investment Action Plan that identifies priority projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
The Emergency Social Safety Net, the largest ever EU humanitarian programme, has now assisted 1.5 million of the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey.
The EU mobilised €20 million additional financial assistance in support of the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and €73.3 million to improve the living conditions for the people in East Jerusalem and to foster economic development in the occupied Palestinian territory.
The Commission is today reporting on its assessment of the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation benchmarks by the Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as the Eastern Partnership countries: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. This annual report shows that the visa liberalisation requirements for the concerned countries continue to be met but that action – in some cases immediate – is required for a number of countries in specific areas to ensure this continues to be the case.
The European Commission and the Open Society Foundations are launching a new project to increase education opportunities for Roma students and Roma youth in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The project, implemented by the Roma Education Fund (REF), will in particular contribute to improving Roma youth employability, by ensuring a smooth transition of Roma students from education to employment.
The EU Trust Fund adopted projects worth €122 million to support access to education and basic health care for refugees and vulnerable local communities in Jordan, to provide livelihood opportunities in Turkey and make available critical health care services in Iraq.
In view of the continued impact of the crisis and the current 5.6 million Syrian refugees, the Trust Fund Board is confirming its commitment to continue the support to Syrian refugees and their host communities. With this new package, the overall value of EU regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis so far mobilised, reaches €1.6 billion. Currently 55 projects have been contracted.
The EU is intensifying its support to Morocco to address irregular migration in response to increased migratory pressure along the Western Mediterranean Route.
The operational committee of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, North of Africa window has adopted four new migration-related programmes totalling €115 million. The new actions under the EU Emergency Trust for Africa will reinforce assistance to vulnerable migrants, foster labour migration and mobility, and contribute to improving the capacity of Morocco and Libya to manage their borders. The new support will also reach migrants living in Morocco, as well as Moroccan nationals living abroad, while contributing to the development of the country.
The European Union has allocated an additional €4 million to continue delivering much needed humanitarian assistance in eastern Ukraine at the onset of winter.
Hosted by the Georgian Parliament, the 10th Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum took place on 10-12 December in Tbilisi, Georgia.