Lithuanian Foreign Minister: Vilnius Summit should bring concrete results and set forward-looking guidelines

24 July 2013, Last updated at, 10:41 EEST
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author: The Council of the European Union

At the Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brussels on 22 July, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius pointed out that the Vilnius Summit would crown the progress of the Eastern Partnership countries, as well as give guidance on the future of the Eastern Partnership initiative.

“We see Vilnius Summit both as the target in achieving first very concrete results of the Eastern partnership policy, but also as an important milestone in setting a longer term perspective for the Eastern Partnership. These two components will define the success not only of the Vilnius Summit, but also of the Eastern Partnership as a policy,” Linkevičius said.

According to the Foreign Minister, the need is to mobilize all efforts during the remaining time towards signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area) and initialling such agreements with Armenia, Georgia and Moldova at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius on November 28 and 29. The EU has to draft these agreements and the Eastern Partnership countries should comply with political criteria and be dedicated to shared values.

“These agreements do have a huge transformative potential. They will bring concrete results for the people, but also will serve as the instruments to reform, to modernise, and to get as close to the EU as partner countries wish themselves. But in order to offer more based on the “more for more” approach, the EU needs its partners to deliver on their part. Reforms must be sustainable and the upcoming elections should not cast any doubt on the countries’ progress,” Linkevičius said.

For the first time in three years, the Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers Meeting in Brussels was attended by all the foreign ministers of the six Eastern Partnership countries.

Linkevičius said that this was a good opportunity to open a discussion on guidelines and to set a long-term perspective for the Eastern Partnership policy after the Vilnius Summit, encouraging the partners to continue reforms on their path to the EU with an aim to foster even closer relations with these countries. According to the Foreign Minister, a lot will depend not only on the implementation of the association agreements, but also on improving mutual confidence between the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU.

Together with Foreign Ministers of Georgia and Moldova, Linkevičius also took part in the discussion on the way forward, or the Eastern Partnership “beyond Vilnius”. Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU organised the discussion in cooperation with the European Policy Centre (EPC), one of the most authoritative think tanks operating in Brussels.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister congratulated Georgia on the successful conclusion of negotiations for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, as part of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union. Linkevičius stressed that the Vilnius Summit would be a new milestone in creating an open for partners, single and free Europe.

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