INFORMAL EASTERN PARTNERSHIP DIALOGUE IN YEREVAN: PROGRESS AHEAD OF VILNIUS SUMMIT

Topics related to the Eastern Partnership (EaP) and recent developments in the region will be the focus of the third Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue in Yerevan on 13 September.

The meeting will bring together Ministers and senior officials from the Eastern Partnership countries, a press release said. The EU will be represented by Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou, and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service Helga Schmid (on behalf of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton), ENPI Info Centre reports.

Štefan Füle and Helga Schmid will take part in a session with foreign ministers. Besides topics related to the EaP, Schmid will discuss other foreign policy issues of common interest such as Iran, Syria and Egypt. Commissioner Vassiliou will be involved in a separate session with Education Ministers, including Dainius Pavalkis, the Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science, representing the EU Presidency.

The Informal Dialogue meetings will help to prepare for the third Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius on 28-29 November. They also reflect the EU’s commitment to advancing the Eastern Partnership and extending sectoral cooperation, the press release said.

The informal dialogues are a good opportunity to discuss with the partners the process of political and economic reforms and look at how to boost the cooperation, Füle said ahead of his visit to Yerevan, adding: “The EU remains firmly committed to moving this partnership forward as much as possible, based on the ambitions of our partners and their ability to implement necessary reforms.”

Commissioner Vassiliou will highlight the new opportunities for students from Eastern Partnership countries offered Erasmus+, the EU’s new programme for education, training, youth and sport. The Commission envisages that non-EU partner countries will receive €400 million per year for mobility opportunities and cooperation under the programme. Capacity building projects, presently funded under the Tempus programme, will also receive additional funding from Erasmus+.

“Quality education is fundamental to the prosperity and stability of our societies; without well-performing education systems, there can be neither growth nor development,” said Commissioner Vassiliou.

Students from Eastern Partnership countries will also be able to benefit from scholarships for joint Master programmes. Doctoral fellowships will be financed under the renamed Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions, which are part of the new Horizon 2020 programme.

The informal Eastern Partnership dialogues are held twice a year to give partners more ownership in the process and help raise the visibility of the Eastern Partnership.

13.09.2013

Source: ENPI Info Centre