Future of the Eastern Partnership discussion in Brussels

25 October 2013, Last updated at, 08:36 EEST
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In the discussion “The Eastern Partnership beyond Vilnius – Opportunities and Challenges” in Brussels on 24 October, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Andrius Krivas, stressed that the future of the initiative would depend on the European Union as well as the Eastern Partners.

“Partners progress in implementing the agreed reforms, incentives from the European Union and active help for partners in the implementation of reforms, and an open and creative attitude to our future relations are the major factors that will condition the future success of the Eastern Partnership policy,” A. Krivas said.

During the discussion, the newest study “The Eastern Partnership beyond Vilnius – mission accomplished, even greater tasks ahead” by the Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) in Vilnius was presented on this topic.

The discussion, organised by the Permanent Representation of Lithuania in the European Union and research centre European Policy Centre, was also attended by the head of the European External Action Service (EEAS) Department, responsible for the Eastern Partnership’s multilateral cooperation, Richard Tibbels, head of Policy Analysis and Research Division in EESC, Laurynas Kasčiūnas, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Maastricht University, Giselle Bosse, associate fellow at FRIDE, and CEPI and Project Director at Pact, Balázs Jarábik. More than 100 experts working in Brussels took part in the event.

According to the Deputy Minister, after signing and initialling the Association’s Free Trade Agreements with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, the next logical step would be to strengthen efforts to implement the agreements.

“Signing the agreements is not enough. Our task is to ensure that the implementation would be as fast and efficient as possible. This is a historical opportunity for all of us, that the democratic and economic transformation of the Eastern Partners would reach a point of no return,” the Deputy Minister stressed.

According to A. Krivas, agreements of the Association will be hard to implement, member states will have to face many difficult reforms, yet the path is worth following. Referring to Lithuania’s euro integration experience, A. Krivas emphasised that in order to assure a successful process, the EU should not stay aside but rather be actively involved and help.

“On the other hand, we must consider how to maintain the European Union’s focus on the Eastern Partnership when the Vilnius summit meeting is over. Second, we must provide sufficient resources for the successful implementation of the agreements. Third, we must look for ways to help our most ambitious partners realise their European goals,” the Deputy Minister said.

The Eastern Partnership is one of the major priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The 3rd Vilnius summit meeting – the most important top-level Presidency event in Lithuania - will take place in Vilnius, 28–29 November.
 

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