The European flag. Photo: europa.eu
The Parliaments of three Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries - Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - released a joint statement on July 3, calling on the European Parliament to adopt a resolution prior to the EaP Summit reaffirming its appeal to the European Council to opening the perspective of EU membership to the three Associated Countries.
Civil.ge reached out to the EU Member State ministries of foreign affairs on the matter, asking them to comment on the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels in November, as well as the Summit expectations of Eastern partners. Three addressees responded to the query, including the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Latvia, and Linas Linkevičius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.
Estonia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Eastern Partnership has proved to be a valuable framework for cooperation, stability, prosperity in Europe. This is why we want to focus on it during our Presidency. We see the Summit as a way to highlight the EU’s political commitment to the Eastern Partnership.
It is also a good chance to draw attention to the recent positive developments – visa-free travel for Georgian and Ukrainian citizens to Schengen Area. We also hope that the EU’s new framework agreement with Armenia can be concluded. There are advances in sectoral cooperation. We want the Summit to set a forward-looking agenda.
Partner countries have different levels of ambition in their relations with the EU. Our offer to them is therefore also differentiated, based also on their sovereign choice. The Summit should have concrete deliverables for each partner. This is why the Summit should outline also EaP’s concrete and understandable benefits for people.
In response to the Commission and EEAS joint 20 Deliverables by 2020 paper, several Partner countries have circulated ideas how to enhance our cooperation further. This is very useful and we hope to be able to implement them in a way that benefits citizens both in the EU as well as in the Partner countries.
Latvia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Latvia has always been a firm supporter of EU Eastern Partnership policy and equally a firm supporter of the endeavors of the Eastern Partnership countries. Referring to your question about the outcome of the Eastern Partnership Summit and the expectations of Partner countries, at this moment we can only say that this is work in progress. The discussion about the Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit in November this year is still ongoing.
Lithuania, Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius
As usually, preparations for the Eastern Partnership Summit provide an opportunity to evaluate where we are and discuss the future vision.
I am confident on “where we are” part - we have achieved a lot, at least with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine we have exhausted the original agenda defined at the Prague Summit. Three partners implementing AAs/DCFTAs and enjoying visa-free regime with the EU only 8 years after the start of the EaP initiative – something to be really proud of. At the same time it is clear that the “make it or break it” moment comes now, with the challenge of implementation of the Association Agreements. I very much hope that the Brussels summit will reconfirm the necessary support for this task, in line with the principles of differentiation and “more for more.”
When it comes to the future vision, I strongly believe that what was said in Rome Declaration (“we want a Union which remains open to those European countries that respect our values and are committed to promoting them”) – should apply not only to Western Balkans, but to Eastern European states as well. Understanding very well that for our Eastern European Partner countries the Association Agreement is not the ultimate goal in their relations with the EU, I must at the same time acknowledge that here we are talking about a long-term perspective. In the meantime, we should all remember that the Association Agreements represent a very ambitious roadmap of reforms - their implementation will eventually bring Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine [close] to the fulfilment of membership criteria.