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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • EASTERN PARTNERSHIP

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    America and the Eastern Partnership Initative

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     Poland urges EU not to close borders to Eastern Partnership countries

    The EU should not close its borders on neighboring countries, which are trying to practice democratic values and be closer to Europe, Marshal of the Polish Sejm Grzegorz Schetyna said at the conference of the heads of foreign commissions of European Union parliaments and members of the Eastern Partnership in Warsaw on Sept. 5. An important element of the Eastern Partnership project is to facilitate contacts among the citizens of the EU and countries included in this initiative - Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Belarus, he added. The more the process of democratization becomes active in EU neighboring-countries, the more secure its borders will be, Grzegorz was quoted as saying by Ukrinform. He stressed that Europe should not close its borders to partners which respect human rights and an opening dialogue on the form of government.
    Schetyna said the Eastern Partnership will support the transformation of neighboring countries and facilitate contacts between the EU and partner countries. In this context, the decisions to be taken at the Eastern Partnership summit in Warsaw on Sept. 29-30 will have a significant impact on the future of the project, he said.
    "It's important to give a political signal for further approximation of EU partner countries. The emphasis of the European ambitions with regard to its eastern neighbors would be a strong impetus for them to intensify reforms," he added.
    At the two-day conference of parliamentarians in the 27 EU countries’ and Eastern Partnership countries in Warsaw on Monday, participants continued to debate EU policy towards its eastern neighbors. On Tuesday, participants will focus on the situation in North Africa. Oleg Bilorus, the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs will represent Ukraine at the Warsaw conference.
    The EU's Eastern Partnership Program was initiated by Poland and Sweden in 2009. The Program includes Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. It offers Partner Countries deepening cooperation with the EU in a number of areas, including facilitating the visa regime, enhancing energy cooperation, and opening free trade zones.
    Small projects on student exchange, environmental protection, and energy supplies will also be carried out as part of the program. 

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    Eastern Partnership: Opportunities for Business

    Brochure


     

    Information about the Eastern Partnership in Russian

     


     

     

    Important links:

    http://www.msz.gov.pl/en/foreign_policy/europe/eastern_partnership (in English and Russian)

    http://www.easternpartnership.org/

    http://www.eeas.europa.eu/eastern/

    http://eastbook.eu/ (in Polish; in near future in the languages of all 6 partner countries of the Eastern Partnership)

     

     

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    The Visegrad Group and Germany Foreign Ministers Statement on the Eastern Partnership

    Bratislava, March 3, 2011

    "Joint Statement on the enhanced Visegrad Group activities in the Eastern Partnership" (http://www.visegradgroup.eu/main.php)

    Eastern Partnership

     

    The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is the first comprehensive initiative introduced into the system of the European Union's external relations, addressed to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Eastern Partnership is designed to help the countries of Eastern Europe and South Caucasus with their approximation to and integration with the European Union.  The EaP has injected a new quality into relations between the EU and the countries covered by the initiative through their gradual integration with the European Union.

    The initiative was officially launched at the first Eastern Partnership summit in Prague on May 7 2009, which adopted a Joint Declaration. It marked the successful establishment of the Partnership as an integral component of European Union foreign policy.

    The fulfillment of EaP objectives is meant to bring about genuine approximation of the partner countries to the EU and, in the future, may facilitate their full integration. The Eastern Partnership is governed by the principles of shared ownership, differentiation and conditionality. Basing on Union values, standards and norms, it advances cooperation in such spheres as human rights, market economy, sustainable development, good governance, energy security and many others. The Eastern Partnership also stimulates the development and strengthening of contacts between people and of scientific and cultural cooperation.

    The primary goals of the Eastern Partnership include the attainment of political association, establishment of  bilateral deep and comprehensive  free trade areas between the EU and partner countries, gradual steps towards visa liberalization, leading to the introduction of a visa-free regime, and the  establishment of a structure of multilateral cooperation in the form of four thematic platforms (devoted, respectively,  to democracy, good governance and stability; economic integration and convergence with EU policies; energy security; and contacts between people).

    An example of multilateral cooperation is an ongoing project on Integrated Border Management, with a budget of EUR 50 million. Preparatory work is progressing on a program of support for small and medium-sized enterprises - SME Facility  (EUR 57 million for the years 2010-2013). The implementation of the program will start with the launching of a project codenamed East-Invest (EUR 7 million), designed to improve the investment climate in partner countries and create a network of business contacts between the EU and its Eastern partners. An initiative on Prevention of, Preparedness for and Response to natural and man-made disasters  (EUR 6 million) is also under way. Plans are advanced for the launching of a program on Environmental Governance (EUR 1.8 million)  and EaP Culture Programme (EUR 12 million). The autumn of 2009 saw the launching of The Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P), with a budget of EUR 1.5 billion.

    In line with the commitments of the EaP founding summit, the European Investment Bank set up the Eastern Partners Facility, with funds totaling EUR 1.5 billion, earmarked for the financing of investments in EaP partner countries. This has supplemented the EIB's previous external mandate for investments in Eastern Europe (EUR 3.7 billion).

    The Joint Declaration has opened the Eastern Partnership to participation by a wide range of actors. In addition to government institutions, they include parliaments, international organizations, local government bodies, financial institutions, the civil society and private sector. Third states will be eligible for participation on a case-by-case basis in concrete projects, activities and meetings of the thematic platforms, where this contributes to the objectives of the Eastern Partnership.

    A number of international organizations have accepted the invitation to engage in EaP cooperation.  The Council of Europe wants to be involved in EaP  anicorruption programs  and  in undertakings to improve the functioning of judiciary systems. The OSCE is planning cooperation to raise human rights protection standards. The EBRD and the OECD are involved in a program of support for small and medium-sized enterprises in Eastern partner countries.  There are plans for the engagement of other international organizations and third countries in these EaP initiatives.

    NGOs in EU and partner countries have displayed animated interest in the EaP. Last December Brussels hosted the first session of the Civil Society Forum of the EaP, with some 200 NGOs in attendance. The Forum appointed a Steering Committee, which coordinates the relevant activities of NGOs in the EU and partner countries. The Forum has the goal of stimulating cooperation between societies and enhancing the civic aspect of the EaP. Further meetings of the Forum are scheduled in Berlin this autumn and in the autumn of 2011, during the Polish Presidency of the EU.

    On the bilateral level of the EaP, involving relations between the EU and the respective partner countries, efforts are being made to put in place association agreements and establish deep and comprehensive free trade areas. Works on an association agreement between the EU and Ukraine are close to conclusion. Earlier this year negotiations began on a similar agreement with Moldova, while the negotiation mandates for association agreements with countries of South Caucasus have recently been approved.

    Moves are also being made to bring about gradual visa liberalization, leading to visa-free travel. Cooperation in this regard is furthest advanced with Ukraine.  Both sides have developed dialog on visa issues, seeking to create conditions for the introduction of a visa-free regime. Similar dialog will be probably started with Moldova later this year. Negotiations on a visa-facilitation  agreement with Georgia were completed in 2009 (similar agreements are already in force in relations with Ukraine and Moldova). Meanwhile, talks are underway with Armenia and Azerbaijan on possible forms of collaboration in this sphere.

    The elaboration and implementation of Comprehensive Institution Building Programs will provide practical support to partner countries. The Programs have the goal of bolstering those institutions in the partner countries that are crucial for the implementation of the association and free-trade agreements. Resources totaling EUR 173 million have been allocated to these programs and several EU Member States, including Poland, will provide assistance in their fulfillment. This May Moldova became the first EaP country to sign a memorandum of understanding with the European Commission, earmarking over EUR 40 million for implementation of CIB programme in Moldova.

    The conference in Sopot was the first informal meeting of EaP foreign ministers organized together by Poland and the Spanish Presidency. On the first anniversary of the EaP, foreign ministers from 33 countries and the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy focused on the practical implementation of the Partnership, including European Commission plans and actions, the financing principles, the calendar and methods of implementing the respective stages of the initiative, and the possibilities of participation by Member States and partner countries in designing and implementing activities and projects. The partner countries presented their expectations connected with the deepening of relations with the European Union and the realization of concrete programs and projects. A key topic, discussed at the meeting, was the establishment of a Group of Friends of the Eastern Partnership, an informal forum of cooperation with non-EU countries, interested in supporting Eastern Partnership goals.  

     

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