The European Union has approved a humanitarian budget of EUR 1.4 billion, of which EUR 28 million will be allocated to finance projects to overcome the crisis caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and climate change in Ukraine, the Western Balkans and the Caucasus. The relevant information was circulated by the European Commission in Brussels on Tuesday. “As global humanitarian needs worsen further due to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the effects of climate change, the European Commission has adopted its initial annual humanitarian budget of EUR 1.4 billion for 2021. This represents an increase of more than 60% compared with the initial humanitarian budget of EUR 900 million adopted last year,” the commission said in a press release.
In addition, EUR 505 million will be allocated to Africa to support people affected by the long-term Lake Chad Basin crisis, impacting Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad; those suffering from food and nutrition crisis, worsened by security incidents and community conflicts, in the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger); and those displaced by armed conflicts in South Sudan, Central African Republic and Horn Of Africa (Somalia and Ethiopia).
Some EUR 385 million of EU humanitarian funding will be allocated to the needs in the Middle East and Turkey to help those affected by the Syria regional crisis, as well as the extremely severe situation in Yemen. Some EUR 180 million in humanitarian assistance will continue to help the most vulnerable populations in Asia and Latin America. In Latin America, this includes those affected by the crises in Venezuela and Colombia.
“The European Union will also continue to provide help in Asian countries such as Afghanistan, where the conflict has been qualified as one of the deadliest conflicts worldwide, and Bangladesh, which is currently hosting almost one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. The EU will also allocate EUR 28 million to fund projects addressing crises in Ukraine, Western Balkans and the Caucasus,” the commission said in the statement.
The rest of the funding, EUR 302 million, will be used for EU humanitarian air services and for unforeseen humanitarian crises or sudden peaks in existing crises.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has appointed Matteo Patrone as Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, according to a report on the EBRD’s website. “Matteo Patrone will be responsible for the bank’s operations and engagement in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The EBRD’s combined investment in the six countries stands at almost EUR 24 billion throughout all sectors of their economies to date,” the report says. “Patrone will work in Kyiv. He is taking over the position from Francis Malige, who was the first Managing Director of the EBRD’s Eastern Europe hub and has recently been appointed Managing Director, Financial Institutions, at the bank’s headquarters in London,” according to the document.
“I am honored and humbled to take on this new position at the EBRD in an exciting region. We have seen impressive progress in all countries under my predecessor and it will be my priority to create the conditions for our strong local teams to build on this and expand further. The needs are huge and our offer is attractive. Our aim will be to continue promoting the competitiveness of the local economies as they are moving closer to Europe,” Patrone said.
“Patrone, an Italian national, joined the EBRD in 2008 in London as a member of the corporate equity team after a successful career in the private sector. He was appointed Director for Serbia in 2012 and Regional Director for Romania and Bulgaria in 2015.
The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. Since the beginning of its activities in the country in 1993, the bank has undertaken total commitments to provide almost EUR 12.1 billion for about 400 projects.