President of European Commission Tusk: 10 years on there is more Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine in EU

  • President of the European Commission Tusk hosted the heads of the Eastern Partnership countries late yesterday. Photo: Prime Minister’s press office., 14 May 2019 - 11:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

President of the European Commission Donald Tusk  stated on the 10th anniversary of the EU’s Eastern Partnership format that there is more Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in the EU.

And I believe there is more EU in all of your countries than ever before. We are not only neighbours – we are members of the same European family”, he said during the reception of leaders from the six Eastern Partnership countries later yesterday, including Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze.

Tusk stated that the EaP, created to reinforce the political association and economic integration of six Eastern European countries into the EU, has had its successes, its challenges, and also moments of tension, as in November 2013, during the summit in Vilnius, where Ukrainian President  Viktor Yanukovych rejected Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU, “which he later bitterly regretted.”

Today, after ten years, we can reflect on our achievements. Three of the six Eastern Partnership countries have Association Agreements [Georgia among them] that include deep and comprehensive trade areas. They also have visa-free arrangements with the EU [Georgia signed the deal in 2017]. Billions of euros have been spent on border management, connectivity, environment and energy efficiency, support for business, legal advice, and education. Young people from partnership countries participate in Erasmus,” Tusk said.

He stated that much more still needs to be done, “but there is no doubt that our partner countries have come closer to the EU, more than our other neighbours.”

Today a conference will be held dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the partnership at the European Commission (Charlemagne building).

The EaP ministerial was held yesterday, where a joint document was adopted.

Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said that Georgia has used all the opportunities offered by the format.