Navigation und Service


Angela Merkel in Brussels

Eastern states are important partners for EU

At the Eastern Partnership summit the Chancellor has stressed the importance of relations with neighbouring countries to the east of the EU. The meeting focused on economic cooperation and political dialogue. Angela Merkel discussed the conflict in Ukraine with President Petro Poroshenko.

Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement to the press on her arrival at the EU Eastern Partnership meeting. Germany will "meet its European commitments in full" and "play an active part" assured Angela Merkel Foto: Bundesregierung/Denzel

The summit is a good opportunity to speak with partners, said Chancellor Angela Merkel following the talks in Brussels. It offers an opportunity to see how cooperation arrangements could work, and to identify the relevant political relations. The Chancellor described cooperation on various projects as good, and gave the examples of security, cyber security, transport infrastructure, research and development, and digital cooperation.

At the summit, representatives of the 28 EU member states and the EU institutions engaged in discussions with six Eastern Partnership states: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Important relations

"The relations between the European Union and our neighbours to the east are naturally very important to us," said Angela Merkel on her arrival in Brussels. "Firstly, we are interested in and moved by the situation of the people in these states and by democratic developments. Secondly, the neighbouring states also always play a significant part in our own security."

The Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the Chancellor also discussed the conflict in Ukraine. "We agreed that the Minsk process is proceeding very slowly, but we will continue to pursue it," she said.

Moving closer to the EU

Since the first summit meeting in 2009, the Eastern Partnership has offered Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan the chance to move closer to the values and standards of the EU. Significant progress has been made here over recent years.

The EU has, for instance, entered into Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Since 2017, Ukrainian and Georgian nationals no longer need visas to travel to the EU; citizens of Moldova have been able to travel without visas since 2014. On the sidelines of the summit meeting a Partnership Agreement was signed with Armenia.

"Over the years we have found ways of enabling each partner to do what is important, appropriate and feasible for that partner in the given political situation," noted the Chancellor.

The German government is able to take action

In response to questions posed by other heads of state and government with respect to Germany’s acting government, the Chancellor was able to assure them "that we will of course meet our European commitments in full and play an active role". The acting government has the authority to take all necessary decisions. "It is very important to me that we can push ahead with European developments now," stressed Angela Merkel, and made it clear that today was a good example of this.

Map showing the Eastern Partnership states and the points on the agenda: political dialogue, practical cooperation, support for reform Bild vergrößern What the summit is about Foto: Bundesregierung

Extending cooperation

Friday’s summit looked specifically at extending cooperation in the four fields identified at the last summit in Riga:

  • Strengthening the economy: economic development and better market opportunities
  • Strengthening governance: institution building and promoting good governance
  • Strengthening connectivity: improving networks, especially in the transport and energy sectors
  • Strengthening civil society: enhanced mobility and more direct person to person contacts.

The Eastern Partnership is an EU project within the scope of European Neighbourhood Policy. The Partnership was presented on 26 May 2008 at the General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting in Brussels, and adopted at the European Council meeting in December 2008. The first summit meeting took place on 7 May 2009 in Prague, followed by summits in Warsaw in 2011, Vilnius in 2013 and Riga in 2015. The fifth Eastern Partnership summit has now been held in Brussels. The Eastern Partnership is not linked to EU accession.

Freitag, 24. November 2017