EU door should be open for countries that truly transform, say Polish, Swedish foreign ministers

From left: the foreign minister of Poland, Georgia and Sweden at a joint press conference in Tbilisi in November of 2017. Photo source: Polish Foreign Ministry., 15 Nov 2017 - 16:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

Building stronger relations between the European Union (EU) and its Eastern Partners will lead to better lives for the people in our countries, say the Polish and Swedish foreign ministers.

Witold Waszczykowski of Poland and Margot Wallstroem of Sweden published a joint opinion piece on the online newspaper EUobserver, where they called the Eastern Partnership (EaP) "one of the most successful foreign policy initiatives of the EU”.

They said that EaP was jointly initiated by Poland and Sweden eight years ago, and meant that the EU deepened its relations with six of its closest neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The pair stressed that despite past successes, the EaP needs a revival to remain relevant in the future.

They believe the EaP needs to be more focused on the needs of people, in particular young people, and produce more concrete results in four areas:

  • Ownership
  • Resilience
  • Public engagement
  • Connectivity

Discussing the ownership component, they said they believe that all countries that are engaged in the EaP policies should be mutually responsible for carrying out its goals and priorities. Those who declare higher ambitions should also deliver on the reforms they have committed to. They said that Georgia is a good example of that.

The two ministers also said that next year, both Poland and Sweden will be represented at the United Nations Security Council as non-permanent members.

"We want to use this opportunity to promote conflict resolution and crisis management, especially in the EaP region”, they said.

Waszczykowski and Wallstroem stated that "the door should be kept open to potential membership for those countries that truly transform”.