3RD EASTERN PARTNERSHIP SUMMIT KICKS OFF IN VILNIUS
The 3rd Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit of heads of state and government starts in Vilnius today. It will be an event of major importance for future development of the Eastern Partnership policy and, consequently, for political and economic relations in Poland’s neighbourhood.
Ukraine will be on top of the summit agenda. The country was to sign the association agreement with the EU during the summit. “The association agreement is the best offer Brussels can make to Ukraine, but it is not the only dimension of EU-Ukraine relations,” said Deputy Minister Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz. “The EU’s proposal is still on the table,” says the deputy chief of Poland’s diplomacy. The Vilnius summit will see the initialling of association agreements with Georgia and Moldova.
The Eastern Partnership represents an EU policy that has been consistently developed vis-à-vis the EU’s eastern neighbourhood: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The EaP’s goal is to support partner countries through enhanced cooperation and measures that are supposed to bring these countries closer to EU values, standards and benchmarks – in terms of economy, politics, law and, above all, the civil society. Held on a regular basis, i.e. biennially, the EaP summit offers the opportunity to sum up past achievements and set directions for the future of the EU’s relations with its eastern partners. The inaugural summit took place in Prague in May 2009. The second edition was hosted by Poland in September 2011, i.e. during our presidency of the EU Council. This year’s EaP summit will bring together heads of state and government of EU member states and partner countries, as well as EU officials. Poland will be represented by President Bronisław Komorowski and Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski.
The Lithuanian presidency has mounted a number of events to accompany the summit. They will include the 2nd EaP Business Forum, which provides a platform for business people from the EU and partner countries wishing to establish contacts; the Civil Society Conference; and the meeting of chairpersons of parliamentary foreign affairs committees. The schedule also includes the I, CULTURE Orchestra concert, featuring musicians from the EaP countries.