Making Eastern Partnership fit for the future

The executive puts on the table long-term policy objectives for its ties with the six ex-Soviet states

Photo: EU Olivér Várhelyi.

On Wednesday, the EU Commission put on the table a proposal for the Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020 that contains five concrete future objectives, based on extensive public consultation carried out last year.

Within its scope is boosting trade, strengthening connectivity and deepening economic integration with the six ex-Soviet countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. On the radar for the next 10 years is strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, environmental and climate resilience, propping up the digital shift, and promoting fair and inclusive societies.

Stating that the Eastern Partnership remains a crucial element of the EU's foreign policy, High Representative/EC Vice-President Josep Borrell commented that the proposal "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".

Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi explained that the message sent to the Eastern partner countries is: “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, Commissioner Várhelyi stressed, adding that the new priorities look at making the partnership fit for the future.

The Enlargement Commissioner also said that over the past decade this partnership brought concrete benefits to the people in the six countries and across the EU and “responded to many challenges well”.

The new 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. The suggested priorities are dedicated to support the ecological transformation, the digital makeover and will deliver on economies that work for all, in particular more job opportunities for youth and to promote gender equality.

 

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