Strategic Eastern Partnership agreements signed in Vilnius

29 November 2013, Last updated at, 10:09 EEST
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author: R. Dačkus

The EU's association agreements with Georgia and Moldova were initialed and other important cooperation agreements between the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries were signed at the Vilnius Summit. Taking part in summit are EU leaders, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, heads of state or government from the 28 EU member states with those of six partner countries.

The President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė, who invited heads of state and government, cabinet members from 34 countries together with EU leaders to the Vilnius Summit, underlined that the summit proved to be very successful because it opened a new stage in the development of the Eastern Partnership.

"In the course of four years, the Eastern partners have made great progress. Their European choice is based on free will. For them, it is an opportunity to create a better and more secure future built on democratic values. No external pressure or threats can prevent sovereign states from pursuing the path of their choice," the President said.

The EU's association agreements including deep and comprehensive free trade areas have been initialed with Moldova and Georgia. According to the President of Lithuania, they marked an effective step made by these countries towards advancement and European transformation.

Progress was also achieved in visa liberalization between the EU and its Eastern partners. The EU and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on visa facilitation at the Vilnius Summit. President Dalia Grybauskaitė welcomed the proposal put forward by the European Commission this week to introduce a visa-free regime with Moldova.

An agreement establishing a framework for the participation of Georgia in the EU's international missions was signed in Vilnius. The EU and Ukraine also initialed an agreement on air services.

Closer association between the six partner countries with the European Union as well as support for their aspirations to live by European values and principles have been placed on top of the Lithuanian Presidency's agenda. During its six-month EU presidency, Lithuania has been making great diplomatic efforts to give a new momentum to the Eastern Partnership programme.

The Vilnius Summit is the third Eastern Partnership summit. The programme was launched in Prague four years ago. The two-day summit in Vilnius is the most important and the largest event of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

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From 28.11.2013 to 29.11.2013
The 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius

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