Tuesday

23rd Jul 2019

EU reaches out to former Soviet states

  • The Eastern Partnership summit is taking place at the national library of Latvia, in Riga (Photo: Consillium)

In the last hours before the Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit begins in Riga, the EU accepted to "acknowledge the European aspirations" of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova.

The formulation was in the declaration published after the previous summit in Vilnius in 2013, but was not included in previous versions of the final declaration to be issued on Friday (22 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Summit participants acknowledge the European aspirations and European choice of the partners concerned, as stated in the Association agreements," states the document seen by EUobserver, referring to the political and trade agreements signed by the three countries.

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova insisted on obtaining stonger wording and the discussion over this paragraph threatened to jeopardise a positive outcome for the summit.

The 28 ambassadors to the EU settled the issue on Wednesday "so there would be no discussion in Riga," an EU diplomat told EUobserver.

Sweden and Lithuania pushed for the declaration to "welcome" the three countries’ "European aspirations" but other EU states stuck to the looser word "acknowledge".

This wording remains far from outlining a membership perspective, but will let summit participants boast of a successful meeting.

The UK, a traditional ally of eastern countries on this matter, did not push for more favourable wording because it did not want the talks to drag into the summit, the diplomat said.

Meanwhile, Germany, one the most reluctant countries out of concern for Russia’s reactions, gave in for the same reason - it wanted the discussion to be closed before the summit.

The EU also agreed to send a positive signal on visas.

The summit declaration will "warmly welcome the progress made by Georgia and Ukraine" in implementing measures required by the EU to grant the two countries a visa free regime.


In a previous version of the declaration, the EU only said it "look[ed] forward to completion by Ukraine and Georgia of the implementation" of measures in areas such as the fight against corruption or drug and human trafficking.

Ukraine and Georgia wanted the summit to decide in favour of a liberalisation of their visa regime in 2016, but the EU is first waiting for a report due in autumn on progress in the areas by the two countries.

However the new wording should ensure a smooth summit on Thursday evening and Friday morning.

"The only question now is whether Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will come up with a separate statement" to reiterate their demands on membership and visas, the EU diplomat told this website.



After his arrival in Riga, Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko said the declaration was "a significantly improved" text, suggesting there would be no separate statement.

Eastern Partnership: In search of meaning

Twenty-five EU leaders and six former Soviet states are meeting in the shadow of the Ukraine crisis and amid divergent views on future relations.

EU keeps former Soviet countries at arm's length

The EU kept former Soviet states at arm's length in the Riga summit, held in the shadow of Russia's aggression in Ukraine. Greece and the UK referendum gatecrashed the event.

News in Brief

  1. Agriculture MEPs elect far-right vice-chair
  2. Johnson is next British prime minister
  3. Johnson set to be announced British PM on Tuesday
  4. UK-based owners of .eu domains could keep name
  5. Weyand: EU would respond to US tariffs on cars
  6. UK foreign office minister quits ahead of Johnson as PM
  7. AKK to boost Bundeswehr budget to Nato target
  8. Police arrest 25 after Polish LGBT-march attack

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Macron: 14 EU states agree on a migration 'mechanism'
  2. As Johnson set to become PM, ministers pledge to resign
  3. Poland's PiS prepares 'failsafe' for October election
  4. Abortion Wars
  5. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  6. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  7. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  8. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us