The Eastern Partnership

28.08.2016. 13:04

The Eastern Partnership is part of the European Neighbourhood Policy, which was developed in 2004 with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and our neighbours, and the aim of strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all. The European Neighbourhood Policy is based on the values of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is proposed to the 16 of EU's closest neighbours and includes two neighbourhood policy formats: the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, a framework for cooperation between the EU and 10 countries in the Mediterranean region; and the Eastern Partnership for cooperation with the six countries in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus regions.

The ENP is chiefly a bilateral policy between the EU and each individual partner (neighbouring) country. It is further complemented by regional and multilateral co-operation initiatives and forms.

The EU's Eastern Partnership

The decision to establish the Eastern Partnership with the aim of promoting political association and economic integration with eastern neighbours was made by the EU heads of state and government in Prague in the spring of 2009 By signing the Eastern Partnership Prague Summit Declaration. The Eastern Partnership partner countries are: Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine in the Eastern Europe region, and Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus region.

EP map - 6

How Does the Eastern Partnership Work?

  •  On the bilateral dimension – for example, through the Association Agreements, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, and the Visa Liberalisation process.
  • On the multilateral dimension – for example, the 28+6 format (28 EU Member States and 6 Eastern Partnership states) sectoral meetings, regional formats (civil society forums, the Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Assembly EURONEST), summits of the heads of state and government (once every two years), Foreign Ministers' meetings (once a year), and informal ministerial meetings.

The main tools of the Eastern Partnership multilateral dimension are 4 platforms that reflect 4 main areas of cooperation between the Eastern Partner countries and the EU, namely:

  1. Democracy, good governance and stability;
  2. Economic integration and convergence with EU policies;
  3. Energy security;
  4. People-to-people contacts.

The Eastern Partnership provides the grounds to successfully develop cooperation both between states and governments, and the people (non-governmental organisations). It aims to offer the neighbouring countries a set of special relations underpinned by the common values such as democracy and human rights, rule of law, good governance, market economy and sustainable development.

 Partner countries interested in working within the Eastern Partnership format, may receive from the EU, for example, support for the implementation of state reforms, trade facilitation, financial aid, energy supply security and visa-free travel. In turn this means increased stability and security for the EU.

The relevance of the Eastern Partnership policy is demonstrated by the developments in the region, which also have an impact on the EU member states. Like other policies, the Eastern Partnership is also subject to constant improvements, the current of which is dependent on the present  growth and security challenges on the European continent and globally.

Significance of the Eastern Partnership for Latvia

Latvia is interested in building a secure and prosperous Europe. Ever since the launching of the Eastern Partnership, it has been Latvia's foreign policy priority. Latvia actively contributes to the shaping of the Eastern Partnership policy. During our Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Eastern Partnership was included among Latvia’s priorities. Latvia has accumulated significant reform experience, which provides the substantial background knowledge for building relations with the EU's eastern neighbours. Latvia shares its expertise in the fields of integrated border management, public administration, regional cooperation, transport and others.

Latvia continues providing strong support for the implementation of Association Agreements, closer economic ties, and visa liberalisation processes, thereby bringing the partner countries ever closer to EU standards.

The Eastern Partnership is a unifying platform for the EU's relations with its partner countries. At the same time, the policy considers the varied interests of partner countries in advancing their relations with the EU and pursues an individualised approach. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have achieved a significant progress in moving closer to the EU. The three partners have signed Association Agreements and begun their preliminary implementation. Moldova in turn has also made substantial progress in the field of visa liberalisation. Meanwhile, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus have opted for and pursue narrower interests in their cooperation with the EU.

Useful Websites

European Union:

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