EU on Eastern Partnership

Remarks by Cather­ine Ash­ton EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy and Vice Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion after the Extend­ed Min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing on East­ern Part­ner­ship
I am very grate­ful for this oppor­tu­ni­ty to meet with part­ners to dis­cuss the East­ern Part­ner­ship. This meet­ing comes at a par­tic­u­lar­ly time­ly moment. Events in the South­ern part of the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood have under­lined the impor­tance of deep­en­ing our rela­tions with all part­ners on the basis of an agen­da of sys­temic polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic reform.

As a result our com­mit­ment today to strength­en­ing rela­tions with our East­ern Neigh­bours through polit­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion and fur­ther eco­nom­ic inte­gra­tion is sol­id and unwavering.

In near­ly two years since its launch, the East­ern Part­ner­ship has pro­vid­ed an ambi­tious and for­ward­look­ing vehi­cle to achieve these goals. It has pro­vid­ed polit­i­cal impe­tus in key areas such as our nego­ti­a­tions on new Asso­ci­a­tion Agree­ments with part­ners; mobil­i­ty; trade and invest­ment and ener­gy cooperation.

Through its mul­ti­lat­er­al track we have devel­oped a net­work of con­tacts and exper­tise at all lev­els in key areas of mutu­al con­cern: gov­ern­ment to gov­ern­ment; busi­ness to busi­ness and peo­ple to peo­ple. We have also sup­port­ed the estab­lish­ment of a Civ­il Soci­ety Forum rep­re­sent­ing civ­il soci­ety in all part­ner coun­tries and in the Euro­pean Union, there­by ensur­ing that civ­il soci­ety has a strong voice in the East­ern Partnership.

We dis­cussed with part­ners today ways of max­imis­ing the impact of the East­ern Part­ner­ship and mak­ing it more vis­i­ble. And we reviewed progress in the run up to the East­ern Part­ner­ship Sum­mit which will co-host­ed by Hun­gary and Poland in the autumn. 

The East­ern Part­ner­ship is based on a joint com­mit­ment: on the EU’s side to sup­port reform and to bring our East­ern part­ners clos­er. On our part­ners’ side that com­mit­ment is to under­take nec­es­sary polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and sec­toral reforms. We recog­nise renewed efforts are required on both sides if the East­ern Part­ner­ship is to be a last­ing success.

Above all the East­ern Part­ner­ship is about pro­mot­ing a pos­i­tive reform agen­da lead­ing to clos­er rela­tions between us. It is deeply prac­ti­cal and con­crete. It is not about words. And we should judge the ulti­mate suc­cess of this ini­tia­tive in prac­ti­cal terms. By this I mean on the basis of: pos­i­tive demo­c­ra­t­ic devel­op­ments in part­ner coun­tries; increas­es in trade and invest­ment between us; enhanced mobil­i­ty; improved ener­gy and trans­port links; the devel­op­ment of ever more dynam­ic rela­tions between us at every level. 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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