MINSK, 18 March (BelTA) - The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy have put forward a proposal for the long-term policy objectives of the Eastern Partnership beyond 2020, BelTA learned from the EU Delegation to Minsk.
These aim at increasing trade, strengthening connectivity and deepening economic integration with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, environmental and climate resilience, supporting the digital transformation, and promoting fair and inclusive societies.
High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “Our neighbours' strength is also the European Union's strength; the Eastern Partnership remains a crucial element of the EU's foreign policy. Our proposals will further strengthen our six partner countries, reflecting the priorities and challenges that we share, while maintaining the emphasis on delivering tangible, positive results for all citizens.”
For his part, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said: “We are sending a very clear message to our Eastern partner countries: we will help you to build strong economies and to create growth and jobs by attracting foreign direct investment and by strengthening connectivity in key sectors, such as transport, energy and environment. We will work closely together to address today's challenges across the board, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Building on the achievements of the Partnership in the first ten years, the proposal outlines how the EU will work together with the partner countries to tackle common challenges and strengthen their resilience in the light of today's challenges as an overriding policy objective beyond 2020. In doing so, work between the EU and partners will continue on new policy priorities to support the ecological transformation, the digital transformation and to deliver on economies that work for all, in particular more job opportunities for youth and to promote gender equality,” the EU Delegation to Minsk noted.
The new policy objectives emerged from the structured consultation on the future of the Eastern Partnership carried out in 2019, with broad and inclusive participation of the Member States, partner countries, civil society organizations, the academia, business circles, and financial institutions. Overall, there is a broad consensus that the current Eastern Partnership policy framework is robust and delivers tangible benefits for people.
“The Commission and the European External Action Service expect the Member States and partner countries to endorse this proposal in view of the Eastern Partnership Summit in June 2020, which will give a mandate to develop a new set of tangible deliverables building on the current 20 Deliverables for 2020,” the message reads.