EU Council meeting — Conclusions on Eastern Partnership

The Coun­cil adopt­ed the fol­low­ing con­clu­sions:
1. The Coun­cil recalls its Con­clu­sions of 26 July 2010 on the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy (ENP). It reit­er­ates its com­mit­ment to a strong ENP includ­ing its region­al dimen­sions. The Coun­cil also recalls the Dec­la­ra­tion by the Euro­pean Coun­cil on the East­ern Part­ner­ship of 19/20 March 2009, as well as the Joint Dec­la­ra­tion of the Prague East­ern Part­ner­ship Sum­mit of 7 May 2009 which estab­lished the East­ern Part­ner­ship as a spe­cif­ic East­ern dimen­sion of the ENP. It con­firms the strate­gic impor­tance for the Euro­pean Union of pro­mot­ing sta­bil­i­ty, good gov­er­nance and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment in its East­ern neigh­bour­hood. The EU is com­mit­ted to deep­en­ing rela­tions and strength­en­ing coop­er­a­tion with its East­ern part­ners.

2. Since its launch at the Prague Sum­mit, the East­ern Part­ner­ship has rein­vig­o­rat­ed the EU’s pol­i­cy towards its East­ern part­ners (Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan, Belarus, Geor­gia, the Repub­lic of Moldo­va and Ukraine), with a view to cre­at­ing the nec­es­sary con­di­tions for polit­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion and fur­ther eco­nom­ic inte­gra­tion between the Euro­pean Union and inter­est­ed part­ner coun­tries. It has cre­at­ed a mean­ing­ful polit­i­cal frame­work for deep­en­ing rela­tions with the part­ner coun­tries, includ­ing coop­er­at­ing on reform. Through the East­ern Part­ner­ship, the EU will con­tin­ue to sup­port polit­i­cal and socio-eco­nom­ic reforms of the part­ner coun­tries, facil­i­tat­ing approx­i­ma­tion and con­ver­gence towards the Euro­pean Union. The Coun­cil recalls that the East­ern Part­ner­ship is found­ed on mutu­al inter­ests and com­mit­ments, as well as on shared own­er­ship and respon­si­bil­i­ty.

3. It is now impor­tant for the dynam­ics of the process to be main­tained so that fur­ther tan­gi­ble results can be made. The sec­ond East­ern Part­ner­ship Sum­mit in Budapest in May 2011 will pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty to take stock of progress made and give guid­ance for the future.

4. The Coun­cil recalls that the active engage­ment of the part­ner coun­tries and their com­mit­ment to shared val­ues and prin­ci­ples, includ­ing democ­ra­cy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and good gov­er­nance are essen­tial to take the process for­ward and to make the nego­ti­a­tion and the sub­se­quent imple­men­ta­tion of ambi­tious future Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ments a suc­cess. The EU is com­mit­ted to assist­ing the part­ner coun­tries in this regard.

5. The Coun­cil under­lines that progress on the bilat­er­al track of the East­ern Part­ner­ship, on the basis of the own mer­its of each of the part­ner coun­tries, remains essen­tial. This includes the upgrad­ing of bilat­er­al con­trac­tu­al rela­tions, and, in this con­text, devel­op­ing Com­pre­hen­sive Insti­tu­tion-Build­ing with each of the part­ners, as well as pro­mot­ing the mobil­i­ty of cit­i­zens in a well man­aged and secure envi­ron­ment, and strength­en­ing ener­gy secu­ri­ty. In the same con­text, the EU will con­tin­ue to pur­sue the estab­lish­ment of Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Areas with East­ern part­ners once they have met the nec­es­sary con­di­tions.

6. The Coun­cil notes the progress made so far in nego­ti­a­tions with Ukraine on a future Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment, includ­ing the estab­lish­ment of a Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Area, and encour­ages fur­ther efforts on both sides so that the nego­ti­a­tions can be finalised soon. Nego­ti­a­tions with the Repub­lic of Moldo­va on a future Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ment have made very good progress since they were launched in Jan­u­ary this year. Fur­ther­more, the acces­sion of Ukraine and the Repub­lic of Moldo­va to the Ener­gy Com­mu­ni­ty offers a con­crete per­spec­tive for the inte­gra­tion of both coun­tries in the EU’s inter­nal ener­gy mar­ket on the basis of align­ment with the rel­e­vant acquis. As for future Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ments with Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan and Geor­gia, the Coun­cil wel­comes the launch of nego­ti­a­tions in July and hopes that these will progress swift­ly. The extent of Belarus’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in the bilat­er­al track of the East­ern Part­ner­ship con­tin­ues to depend on inter­nal polit­i­cal devel­op­ments in Belarus. The EU will there­fore con­tin­ue to fol­low the sit­u­a­tion per­tain­ing to democ­ra­cy and human rights in Belarus.

7. The Coun­cil reit­er­ates the impor­tance it attach­es to peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tacts as a means to pro­mote mutu­al under­stand­ing, as well as busi­ness, civ­il soci­ety and cul­tur­al ties. Recall­ing the Stock­holm Pro­gramme and the Joint Dec­la­ra­tion of the Prague Sum­mit, the Coun­cil reit­er­ates its com­mit­ment to pro­mote mobil­i­ty of cit­i­zens of the East­ern part­ner coun­tries through visa facil­i­ta­tion and read­mis­sion agree­ments, and once these are suc­cess­ful­ly con­clud­ed and imple­ment­ed, to take grad­ual steps towards full visa lib­er­al­i­sa­tion as a long term goal for indi­vid­ual part­ner coun­tries on a case-by-case basis pro­vid­ed that con­di­tions for well-man­aged and secure mobil­i­ty are in place.

8. With regard to Ukraine, the EU-Ukraine visa dia­logue exam­in­ing the con­di­tions for visa free trav­el as a long-term goal should now enter a ful­ly oper­a­tional phase on the basis of an action plan set­ting out all tech­ni­cal con­di­tions to be met by Ukraine before the pos­si­ble estab­lish­ment of a visa-free trav­el regime. The action plan will be “two phased” and will be tai­lored to Ukraine’s cur­rent progress. It will con­tain two tiers of bench­marks: pre­lim­i­nary bench­marks con­cern­ing the pol­i­cy frame­work (leg­is­la­tion and plan­ning), which in turn will pave the way for meet­ing more spe­cif­ic bench­marks, cov­er­ing effec­tive and sus­tain­able imple­men­ta­tion of rel­e­vant mea­sures includ­ing con­crete results on the ground. More­over, the effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of visa facil­i­ta­tion and read­mis­sion agree­ments will remain of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance.

Through the Coun­cil, EU Mem­ber States will be ful­ly asso­ci­at­ed in the dif­fer­ent steps of the process, includ­ing by being con­sult­ed on the draft action plan and both sets of bench­marks. The draft action plan will take into account the expert analy­sis pro­duced dur­ing the explorato­ry phase of the visa dia­logue and will be accom­pa­nied by an ini­tial assess­ment of the impact of pos­si­ble future visa lib­er­al­i­sa­tion. The Coun­cil will also be kept informed through Com­mis­sion reports on the ful­fil­ment of the first set of bench­marks, in view of tak­ing a deci­sion to ini­ti­ate an assess­ment of the sec­ond set of more spe­cif­ic bench­marks. Fur­ther­more, Mem­ber State experts will par­tic­i­pate in the mon­i­tor­ing mis­sions con­duct­ed by the Com­mis­sion ser­vices and in reg­u­lar con­sul­ta­tions in rel­e­vant Coun­cil Work­ing Groups. The Coun­cil under­lines that there will be no auto­matic­i­ty in this process and progress in the ful­fil­ment of bench­marks will be close­ly exam­ined and decid­ed upon by the Com­mis­sion and the Coun­cil.

9. The Coun­cil notes that this approach could serve as a mod­el for oth­er East­ern Part­ner­ship coun­tries bear­ing in mind the speci­fici­ty and progress of each coun­try.

10. The Coun­cil reit­er­ates the impor­tance of peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tacts and wel­comes the open­ing in June 2010 of the visa dia­logue exam­in­ing the con­di­tions for visa-free trav­el of cit­i­zens of the Repub­lic of Moldo­va to the EU as a long-term goal. On the basis of the explorato­ry phase of the dia­logue, the Coun­cil under­lines the achieve­ments made so far, the exist­ing chal­lenges and the impor­tance of fur­ther reform efforts by the Repub­lic of Moldo­va, and invites the Com­mis­sion to pre­pare a draft action plan, in line with the approach set out in para­graphs eight and nine of these Con­clu­sions, set­ting out all the con­di­tions to be met by the Repub­lic of Moldo­va before the pos­si­ble estab­lish­ment of a visa-free trav­el regime, with a view to the visa dia­logue enter­ing a ful­ly oper­a­tional phase as soon as appro­pri­ate. Through the Coun­cil, EU Mem­ber States will be ful­ly asso­ci­at­ed in the dif­fer­ent steps of the process, includ­ing by being con­sult­ed on the draft action plan and both sets of bench­marks. The effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the read­mis­sion agree­ment will remain impor­tant in this con­text

11. In this way, in work­ing towards a pos­si­ble future visa free trav­el regime, the EU will seek to pro­vide incen­tives for reforms in the JLS domain and pro­mote con­di­tions for secure and well­man­aged mobil­i­ty using a coun­try-spe­cif­ic approach, while at the same time ensur­ing region­al coher­ence in the approach adopt­ed towards visa lib­er­al­i­sa­tion with the East­ern Part­ner­ship coun­tries and also Rus­sia.

12. In this con­text, in accor­dance with the Stock­holm Pro­gramme and the Joint Dec­la­ra­tion of the Prague East­ern Part­ner­ship Sum­mit, the Coun­cil has invit­ed the Com­mis­sion to devel­op before the end of 2010 a plan on how to take coop­er­a­tion with the East­ern Part­ner­ship coun­tries for­ward in the area of Jus­tice, Free­dom and Secu­ri­ty. This plan should also list the grad­ual steps towards visa lib­er­al­i­sa­tion as a long-term goal for indi­vid­ual East­ern part­ner coun­tries on a case-by-case basis, as well as describe the con­di­tions for well-man­aged and secure mobil­i­ty.

13. The Coun­cil reit­er­ates its con­cern that unre­solved con­flicts in the East­ern neigh­bour­hood con­tin­ue to ham­per not only the eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal devel­op­ment of the part­ner coun­tries, but also region­al coop­er­a­tion and the sta­bil­i­ty of the Euro­pean con­ti­nent. The EU remains com­mit­ted to sup­port the agreed nego­ti­at­ing for­mats and process­es aimed at a peace­ful and last­ing set­tle­ment of con­flicts in the region, and calls on the par­ties to ful­ly com­mit them­selves to these process­es.

14. The Coun­cil notes with sat­is­fac­tion the progress made in imple­men­ta­tion of the mul­ti­lat­er­al track of the East­ern Part­ner­ship as a vehi­cle for pro­mot­ing coop­er­a­tion, open dia­logue, and the exchange of expe­ri­ence and best prac­tices, thus serv­ing the objec­tives of the East­ern Part­ner­ship. The four the­mat­ic plat­forms have adopt­ed Work Pro­grammes for 2010-11 and have estab­lished a num­ber of Pan­els. Sev­er­al Flag­ship ini­tia­tives have also been set up. The Coun­cil looks for­ward to the fur­ther imple­men­ta­tion of con­crete region­al activ­i­ties and projects agreed, in par­tic­u­lar in the frame­work of the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood and Part­ner­ship Instru­ment (ENPI). The Coun­cil sup­ports the fur­ther involve­ment of civ­il soci­ety in the work of the mul­ti­lat­er­al track of the East­ern Part­ner­ship through the Civ­il Soci­ety Forum. The Coun­cil also under­lines the oppor­tu­ni­ties offered by the mul­ti­lat­er­al track for build­ing trust and pro­mot­ing coop­er­a­tion among the part­ner coun­tries, and with the EU and its Mem­ber States. The Coun­cil recalls the impor­tance of the part­ner coun­tries con­tin­u­ing to make full use of the mul­ti­lat­er­al track to this end.

15. The Coun­cil recalls that third coun­tries are eli­gi­ble for par­tic­i­pa­tion on a case-by-case basis in con­crete projects, activ­i­ties and meet­ings of the­mat­ic plat­forms, where it con­tributes to the objec­tives of par­tic­u­lar activ­i­ties and the gen­er­al objec­tives of the East­ern Part­ner­ship.

16. The Coun­cil looks for­ward to the East­ern Part­ner­ship Min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing to be held in Brus­sels in Novem­ber 2010, which will pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty to take stock of the imple­men­ta­tion of the East­ern Part­ner­ship. It will also allow the EU and the part­ner coun­tries to dis­cuss the fur­ther imple­men­ta­tion of the East­ern Part­ner­ship with a view to sup­port­ing fur­ther reforms and strength­en­ing and deep­en­ing the rela­tions between the EU and the part­ner coun­tries on the basis of com­mon val­ues.

Source:
Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →