This is the 5th EaP Summit that brings together the EU and 6 countries of its Eastern neighbourhood: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. From its conception, the EaP has not fully delivered on its goals of encouraging reform efforts in the 6 countries and firmly anchoring their relationship to the EU. This 5th Summit is meant to breathe new life into that process.
To achieve this, the European Parliament proposes an enhanced model of the partnership (EaP+) and a trust fund for those countries which have made substantial progress in implementing current association agreements. “In the present geopolitical context and taking into account the geopolitical realities, we should offer Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova a new European plan including the establishment of a trust fund, a new European investment plan, a financial support mechanism for the implementation of the Association Agreements, etc”, Andrikienė continued. She stressed the importance of making funds available to reward reform progress for three of the partner countries which now have Association Agreements with the EU and Free Trade Agreements through the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
David McAllister MEP, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, added: “The EaP Summit needs to find new ways of achieving the objectives of Article 8 of the Treaty on European Union. In order to increase the readiness for reforms in the countries of the Eastern Partnership, the European Union should therefore – and more clearly than before – formulate requirements that are more concrete and measurable, better support the civil society in the partner countries and, in particular, apply the principle ‘more for more and less for less’ more consistently. These essential points are contained in the EP recommendations for the summit. We share the expectation that these essential points will also be taken into account in the summit conclusions on 24 November.”
As questions have arisen about the participation of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who has been invited to the summit, Laima Andrikienė is quick to point out that the invitation can in no way be interpreted to mean that the EU will stop pointing to the human rights record of the Lukashenko regime: “I hope and I wish he will use this rare opportunity to present and prove his country’s achievements in the process of European integration, in becoming closer to the EU. Certainly, no-one could expect the EU to stop defending human rights. Equal opportunities, the rule of law, democracy, human dignity are our core values and we will firmly stand behind these values whatever country is concerned.”
“In the Parliament, we fully acknowledge our responsibility for the consequences of any failure of our Eastern Partnership policy. This is why we propose very concrete steps to be taken by the European Union in our recommendations in order to guarantee that our Eastern Partnership policy is a success. The European Parliament is playing its legitimate role; its recommendations to the summit should be taken into account and duly reflected in the Final Declaration of the Summit”, she underlined.
“If the Brussels summit turns out to be only a stocktaking summit, if its Final Declaration lacks novelties, then it will demonstrate the inability of the European Union to meet the challenges ahead of us and it will be another missed opportunity”, she concluded.