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Commission Statement: European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism

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On the occasion of the 17th European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism (11 March), the Commission issued the following statement: “Today, we come together to listen, to support survivors, and above all to honour all victims of terrorism. To all who seek to hurt and divide us, we will continue to respond with unity. Our democracies will always strive to protect our fundamental rights, freedoms, and values. We are committed to building inclusive and cohesive societies in which everyone has a stake and everyone can feel safe.

"It is our common responsibility to continue supporting victims and their loved ones. Because of the nature of this crime, victims of terrorism require tailored support and special protection. This is one of the objectives of the newly launched EU Strategy on Victims' Rights.

"We are building up the European Union's resilience to prevent these attacks in the first place. We are fighting the terrorist threat, which increasingly results from different forms of extremism and is increasingly digital. We are taking steps to block online terrorist propaganda, to stop terrorists from spreading hatred online. But no one can fight crime without taking care of its victims.

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"On this day of remembrance, we stand united and in solidarity with all the victims and survivors of these acts.”

Background

The European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism is an annual event to commemorate the victims of terrorism worldwide. On this day in 2004, the Madrid bombings took place claiming the lives of 193 people and injuring thousands more.

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Providing support to victims of crime, including victims of terrorist attacks, is an important part of the Commission's work to address all dimensions of the terrorist threat. The EU has put in place a strong legal framework to protect victims across Europe through the EU-wide compensation scheme, the Victims' Rights Directive and the Directive on Combating Terrorism. In January 2020, the EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism set up by the Commission launched its activities aiming mainly to provide support to Mem ber States to assist victims after a terrorist attack. The Centre also published the EU Handbook on Victims of Terrorism. The von der Leyen Commission adopted the first-ever EU Strategy on victims' rights (2020- 2025).

The main objective of this strategy is to ensure that all victims of crime, no matter where in the EU the crime took place, can make a full use of their rights. The Strategy aims to empower victims to report crime, claim compensation and ultimately recover from consequences of crime.

In September 2020, the Commission inaugurated the EU Victims' Rights Platform and appointed its first European Commission co-ordinator for victims' rights.

The Radicalization Awareness Network, through its working group on remembrance of victims of terrorism, presents victims' experiences, contributes to the remembrance of all victims of terrorism, and highlights the human consequences of violent extremism. Victims' rights and support to them are also at the heart of work carried out by the European Network of Associations of Victims of Terrorism, set up by the Commission.

To prevent terrorist offences in the first place, the EU is active in fighting terrorist propaganda – offline and online, denying terrorists the means and the space to plan, finance and carry out attacks, and countering radicalization. In December 2020, the Commission put forward a new Counter-Terrorism Agenda setting out the way forward for actions to counter terrorism at EU level, looking to better anticipate, prevent, protect and respond to terrorist threats. The Counter-Terrorism Agenda is one deliverable of the way forward on internal security, a core component of the Security Union Strategy adopted by the Commission in July 2020. 

The European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism was established after the Madrid bombings of 11 March 2004. Each year since 2005, the European Union remembers on this date the victims of terrorist atrocities worldwide.

Cyprus

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €157 million in pre-financing to Cyprus

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The European Commission has disbursed €157 million to Cyprus in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €1.2 billion in total over the lifetime of its plan, with €1 billion provided in grants and €200m in loans. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80bn in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states.

The Cypriot plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Belgium

EU Cohesion policy: Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy receive €373 million to support health and social services, SMEs and social inclusion

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The Commission has granted €373 million to five European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) operational programmes (OPs) in Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy to help the countries with coronavirus emergency response and repair in the framework of REACT-EU. In Belgium, the modification of the Wallonia OP will make available an additional €64.8m for the acquisition of medical equipment for health services and innovation.

The funds will support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in developing e-commerce, cybersecurity, websites and online stores, as well as the regional green economy through energy efficiency, protection of the environment, development of smart cities and low-carbon public infrastructures. In Germany, in the Federal State of Hessen, €55.4m will support health-related research infrastructure, diagnostic capacity and innovation in universities and other research institutions as well as research, development and innovation investments in the fields of climate and sustainable development. This amendment will also provide support to SMEs and funds for start-ups through an investment fund.

In Sachsen-Anhalt, €75.7m will facilitate cooperation of SMEs and institutions in research, development and innovation, and provide investments and working capital for micro-enterprises affected by the coronavirus crisis. Moreover, the funds will allow investments in the energy efficiency of enterprises, support digital innovation in SMEs and acquiring digital equipment for schools and cultural institutions. In Italy, the national OP ‘Social Inclusion' will receive €90m to promote the social integration of people experiencing severe material deprivation, homelessness or extreme marginalisation, through ‘Housing First' services that combine the provision of immediate housing with enabling social and employment services.

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In Spain, €87m will be added to the ESF OP for Castilla y León to support the self-employed and workers who had their contracts suspended or reduced due to the crisis. The money will also help hard-hit companies avoid layoffs, especially in the tourism sector. Finally, the funds are needed to allow essential social services to continue in a safe way and to ensure educational continuity throughout the pandemic by hiring additional staff.

REACT-EU is part of NextGenerationEU and provides €50.6bn additional funding (in current prices) to Cohesion policy programmes over the course of 2021 and 2022. Measures focus on supporting labour market resilience, jobs, SMEs and low-income families, as well as setting future-proof foundations for the green and digital transitions and a sustainable socio-economic recovery.

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European Commission

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €2.25 billion in pre-financing to Germany

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The European Commission has disbursed €2.25 billion to Germany in pre-financing, equivalent to 9% of the country's financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). This corresponds to the pre-financing amount requested by Germany in its recovery and resilience plan. The pre-financing payment will help kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Germany's recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Germany's recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €25.6bn in total, fully consisting of grants, over the lifetime of its plan. The disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80bn in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states. The German plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A full press release is available here.

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