President of the European Council Charles Michel has delivered a speech titled 'Three Nations - One Choice: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on the Move' at the Batumi International Conference today in which he outlined three main priorities for the future.
See the full speech here:
Michel said that the EU stands by 'you in full solidarity' and will support the countries to overcome challenges as 'we want stability and resilience in the interest of our citizens together with partners'.
In December we will hold the next Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels and I promise you today that the EU will remain a strong and reliable partner for your region. We count on your commitment to advance reforms... [to please] the interest of your own people and your own societies and together we must always stand up for human rights, equal rights, non discrimination, freedom of expression and the price define who we are", Michel said.
He mentioned the Covid-19 global pandemic and said that the only way out of this challenge is global preparation.
The EU reacted quickly to the needs of the six partners and together with the EIB we mobilised over €2.5 billion to support you to tackle this crisis and to address the social and economic recovery. This support of the EU shows the strategic importance we give our partnership with you and we will continue to support the vaccination campaigns, because this is the key condition for sustainable recovery", Michel said.
Photo: President's press office.
He stressed the importance of free trade agreements and the fact that the EU has become the largest trading partner of the Eastern Partnership countries.
I am convinced that our free trade area can still deliver much more, both to shape the legislative framework for the benefits of your societies, notably by getting you fit to compete on the global markets", he said.
Michel also underlined the 'impressive results' of visa liberalisation with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
More than half a million of your citizens have benefited from visa-free travel so far. And we also support the young generation with over 18,000 exchanges through our Erasmus programme", he said.
The presidents of Moldova and Ukraine Maia Sandu and Volodymyr Zelensky also participated in the Batumi International Conference, which is a discussion platform involving European Union and Eastern Partnership states.
Held in a hybrid format that sees speakers attend the event live but the audience connecting to the event remotely, the conference is hosted by the foreign ministry, with the 17th edition entitled 'Enduring Power of Attraction - When the EU Makes Difference'.