Tuesday

18th Dec 2018

Poland and Sweden to pitch 'Eastern Partnership' idea

Poland and Sweden are to unveil joint proposals for a new eastern Europe policy at an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on Monday (26 May), in a mini-version of France's "Mediterranean Union."

The "Eastern Partnership" envisages a multinational forum between the EU-27 and neighbouring states Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Polish press agency PAP reports.

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

  • Polish woodcut figures: Warsaw wants the EU to have closer ties with its eastern neighbours (Photo: EUobserver)

The forum would aim to negotiate visa-free travel deals, free trade zones for services and agricultural products and strategic partnership agreements with the five countries.

It would also launch smaller, bilateral projects on student exchange, environmental protection and energy supply, but would avoid the controversial topic of EU membership perspectives.

Dictatorship Belarus could join at a technical and expert-level only. Russia would also be invited to cooperate on local initiatives, involving the Kaliningrad enclave for example.

Unlike the grander Mediterranean club, the eastern set-up would not have its own secretariat but would be run by the European Commission and financed from the 2007 to 2013 European neighbourhood policy budget. A commission official would be appointed as its "special coordinator."

Following the foreign ministers' debate, Warsaw hopes to secure formal approval at the EU summit in June and to start detailed work on the "partnership" by the end of the year.

Warm reception

"Poland prepared the proposal with Swedish cooperation. The project was presented to the European Commission in recent days and met with a positive reaction," Polish foreign ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski said.

The upcoming French EU presidency - keen to secure Polish support for its Mediterranean baby - is warming to the idea, with French leader Nicolas Sarkozy to hold talks with Polish prime minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw next week, PAP writes.

Germany, the UK and the Netherlands have also voiced initial support, but Spain and Italy could prove problematic while Ukraine will have to be persuaded the partnership offers something better than the current EU neighbourhood package, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reports.

"The EU's eastern policy is of interest to the whole EU," Polish commissioner Danuta Hubner told the Rzeczpospolita newspaper. "The weakness of [previous] northern, eastern or southern European Union policies was that they existed only in the sphere of interest of member countries in those regions."

EU aviation agreement with Morocco in legal hot water

The European Commission is struggling to respond to questions on how it can include the disputed territory of the Western Sahara into its aviation agreement with Morocco - following a recent order from the General Court of the European Union.

News in Brief

  1. 3,500 UK troops on standby for no-deal Brexit
  2. Brexit: Opposition disagrees over no confidence vote
  3. EU court confirms suspension of Polish judges law
  4. France to tax Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon
  5. EU negotiators agree CO2 targets for cars
  6. May: Brexit vote will be week of 14 January
  7. Rome finds extra budget funds to fit EU demands
  8. Polish climate talks end in agreement on rulebook

Opinion

The Azov crisis will backfire

Vladimir Putin's nightmare of Petro Poroshenko's re-election will be even certain as Ukrainians rally around the flag. Next March's election is not just to elect a new president but also a commander-in-chief to deal with five more years of Putin.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Muscat's one-man rule poses challenge for EU
  2. Orban protests target state media in new front
  3. Brexit and the Queen Sacrifice
  4. EU gives Switzerland another six months for a deal
  5. Fiscal discipline rules in eurozone are devastating
  6. EU capitals see weekend of tear gas and water cannon
  7. Bulgarian 'EU passports' whistleblower wants justice
  8. No more Brexit talks, despite May's pleas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us