Preparations for the Eastern Partnership’s (EaP) Brussels summit in November, as well as EaP’s current state and future plans were the central discussions points of today’s meeting of foreign ministers of Visegrad Group and Eastern Partnership countries in Budapest, Hungary.
The informal ministerial meeting brought together senior diplomats of the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine).
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and Sven Mikser, Foreign Minister of Estonia, were also present at the meeting.
In the joint statement after the meeting, the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group reaffirmed their “their strong support to the Eastern Partnership as a strategic dimension of the European Neighborhood Policy and a key and active factor of stability, security and economic progress in Eastern Europe.”
The Ministers also emphasized that the Eastern Partnership should have a “clear political narrative, a new strategic vision and an architecture that guarantees joint ownership of European institutions, Member States and partner countries.”
They also “agreed that the Brussels Declaration should reflect different aspirations of the partner countries and offer a European perspective for those interested, as well as to set out an ambitious agenda for the Eastern Partnership in the longer term.”
The Ministers also reaffirmed “the importance of the timely realization of the North-South Gas Corridor, along with the Southern Gas Corridor,” and underscored that “any new initiative building on the concept of integrating the Southern Gas Corridor with the Visegrad region, and enabling Central and South-Eastern Europe access to Caspian gas, enhances energy security and market liquidity of the EU as a whole.”
In his address at the ministerial meeting, Commissioner Hahn emphasized that “differentiation and ownership remain pivotal in our engagement; our bilateral relations are tailored to the ambitions and needs of individual partner countries.”
Hahn also stressed “the strategic value of maintaining the inclusive framework of the Eastern Partnership, which helps to focus the attention and resources, and encourages cooperation within this region to tackle common challenges.” “At the upcoming Summit in November we should focus on the issues that we can advance in common, not those that are divisive.”
On the fringes of the meeting, Georgia’s foreign minister Mikheil Janelidze will hold talks with his colleague from Hungary Peter Szijjarto.