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EU Suspends Cross-Border & Transnational Cooperation With Russia & Belarus

EU authorities have taken yet another action against Russia amid the recent military invasion of Ukraine.

In a press release issued on March 4, Friday, the European Union Commission announced the suspension of cooperation with Russia in the cross-border cooperation programs of the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI CBC) and the Baltic Sea Region Programme.

Confirming that Belarus is assisting Russia in its military aggression against Ukraine, the Commission has suspended its cooperation with Belarus in both programs.

“This means, among other things, that no further payments will be made to Russia or Belarus,” the commission notes, adding that the suspension becomes effective immediately.

The European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI) is the main financial instrument of the European Union’s foreign policy towards its neighbors to the east and south.

According to the European Union Commission, the total EU funding for the eight programs with Russia is €178 million. The European Union provided another 257 million euros for two programs with Belarus.

These programs are: “Kolarctic”, “Karelia”, “South-East Finland / Russia”, “Estonia / Russia”, “Latvia / Russia”, “Lithuania / Russia”, “Poland / Russia”, “Latvia / Lithuania / Belarus, “Poland / Belarus / Ukraine.” In addition, Russia also participates in the Transnational Cooperation Program for the Baltic Sea Region.

The Commission’s decision was based on the regulations of the ENI cooperation program, which make it possible to suspend cooperation in cases where one of the parties violates international law, human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law.

Commenting on the move, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said the move was taken as an expression of solidarity with Ukraine while Russia was accused of violating the UN Charter and international law.

Russia’s military aggression is a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, international law and the rules-based order. The Commissioner said that the suspension of all cross-border and transnational programs and payments to Russia and Belarus, and at the same time, the strengthening of support for Ukraine is a concrete expression of European policy solidarity and cohesion with the Ukrainian people.

Since Russia began its military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the European Union has taken a number of measures and sanctions in an effort to force Russia to back off. Among other things, all EU countries have banned Russian aircraft from their airspace and stopped issuing visas to Russian citizens.

>> EU imposes sanctions on an additional 26 people and one entity in response to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine

On the other hand, assistance was constantly provided to Ukraine. European Union countries opened their doors to Ukrainian refugees, providing them with shelter and providing them with temporary protection in the European Union.

>> MEPs: Protecting the borders of Lithuania and Latvia is a challenge for the entire EU

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