The Eastern Partnership has been given a new impetus “with an ambitious declaration that shows Europe’s commitment to ensuring that our ambitions for prosperity and security are translated into action”, the President of the European Council Charles Michel said at last night’s press conference after the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on 15 December.
He said the summit had been an opportunity to reaffirm the EU’s support for “reform processes that are essential to turn this partnership towards the future and to ensure that it responds in a concrete way to the expectations of citizens in terms of employment, growth and social cohesion”.
“The European Union’s commitment is directly linked to the reform efforts and ambitious implementation of the commitments undertaken by our partners,” he added.
Pointing to the EU’s investment package for the Eastern Partnership, he said: “We are serious and reliable. Just over a year ago, the European Union approved a forward-looking European budget, which gives us the capacity to translate our commitments and our ambitions into concrete projects for small and medium-sized enterprises, for the younger generations, for infrastructure, for innovation…”
President Michel also reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to security and stability in the region, and specifically its support for Ukraine, its territorial integrity and its sovereignty. Security and stability “go hand in hand with one another”, he said: “There is prosperity when there is security, and prosperity leads to an increased capacity to provide stability and security.”
Pointing to the empty seat of Belarus, the President of the European Council stressed: “This empty seat does not mean the withdrawal of the European commitment to the people of Belarus… who deserve to have a government that represents their democratic aspirations.”
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