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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

EU Commission: Main results of the Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting, 19 June 2017

Main results of the Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting, 19 June 2017

High Representative Federica  Mogherini chaired the annual Eastern Partnership (EaP) ministerial meeting with the participation of EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn. It brought together EU foreign ministers and their counterparts from the six Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) to work on the preparations of the EaP summit to be held in November 2017 in Brussels.

Ministers recalled the main achievements of the partnership since the last summit in Riga in 2015, focusing on the tangible benefits delivered to the citizens of the six partners countries.

"Today, we have reaffirmed the strong commitment of the EU and the Eastern Partners to our close cooperation. Our summit in November will show our unity and focus on concrete deliverables."

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

They confirmed that the upcoming summit should provide further guidance for strengthening cooperation in the four priority areas of engagement agreed in Riga: 

  • a stronger governance, to strengthen institutions and good governance
  • a stronger society, to increase mobility and people-to-people contacts
  • a stronger economy, to boost economic development and take advantage of market opportunities for more prosperity 
  • a stronger connectivity, enhancing interconnections, notably in the areas of transport and energy.

For that purpose, High Representative Mogherini and Commissioner Hahn presented the ministers with a working document, jointly prepared by the EEAS and the European Commission: "Eastern Partnership - Focusing on key priorities and deliverables". The document identifying 20 deliverables for 2020 in the four areas was first presented in December 2016 and revised this month based on contributions from EU Member States and EaP Partner countries. It lays out, in concrete terms, tangible results expected of the cooperation and should work as a common work plan, for the summit, and for 2020.

Ministers also discussed a more efficient and effective EaP multilateral structure to better align it with the four policy priorities with the aim to adopt it at the next summit.

A new visual identity for the partnership, to highlight this more structured approach around the 4 priority areas and 20 deliverables, will be launched, this week on 22-23 June, at the 3rd EaP Youth Forum in Warsaw.

EU Background

At the Foreign Affairs Council meeting on 15 May 2017, EU ministers exchanged views on the Eastern Partnership. They reiterated the crucial importance of the Eastern Partnership for the European Union, highlighting their unity in supporting the region and each individual EaP country in a tailored way. They also stressed their determination to deliver concrete results for the benefit of citizens, both in the EU and in the EaP countries. 

In this context, they welcomed the entry into force of visa liberalisation for Georgia and Ukraine and underlined the importance of the implementation of Association Agreements /  Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (AA/DCFTAs) and of reforms.

Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova signed association agreements  with the EU, including deep and comprehensive free trade areas (DCFTAs) in 2014.

The EU and Armenia  have finalised negotiations on a comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement for deepening bilateral relations. Negotiations on a new comprehensive agreement with Azerbaijan have started. While tangible steps by Belarus  to respect democracy and human rights continue to be necessary for the shaping of the EU's future policy towards this country, the EU-Belarus coordination group provides for a more comprehensive approach to bilateral relations.

The Eastern Partnership  initiative was launched in 2009 with the main focus on regional cooperation in the EU's eastern neighbourhood. It sets out to promote political association and economic integration with the EU among six EaP countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. It is reform-driven and focuses on increasing the resilience of the partner countries as well as stabilising the neighbourhood.

It is based on the common values of democracy and the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedoms, and commitment to market economy principles.

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