3rd Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting: extracts from the press statement
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council/Justus Lipsius
End production: 23/07/2012 First transmission: 23/07/2012
The third meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Eastern Partnership took place today in Brussels.
Ministers stated that the Roadmap put forward by the European Commission constituted a basis for guiding and monitoring the further implementation of the objectives of the Eastern Partnership defined in the Prague and Warsaw Declarations until the next Summit in Vilnius in autumn 2013.
Ministers agreed that the next Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers' meeting in 2013 would be an occasion to review the implementation of the Roadmap and to discuss the forward-looking development of the Eastern Partnership in preparation of the next Summit in Vilnius.
The Eastern Partnership Program is an initiative under the EU Neighbourhood Policy aimed at improving EU relations with six former Soviet countries, namely Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine and Armenia. The programme envisages the allocation of 600 million euro to these countries until 2013 to strengthen state institutions, control borders and help small and medium-sized companies.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General view of the press statement (at the VIP entrance of the Council building)
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and President of the Council, saying that today's discussions will enable the European Union to better tailor its policies towards partner countries so that the partnership can be kept as inclusive as possible and can at the same time accommodate specific needs and ambitions of those most advanced in the implementation of the goals. Reforms and genuine commitment to common values of freedom, democracy and human rights remain the underpinning elements of the partnership. Saying that she welcomes the good progress achieved by some partners in this area. More work however is still needed.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Catherine Ashton on Belarus, saying that that presence of the Foreign Minister of Belarus has allowed the European Union to convey its deep concern as regards the lack of respect for human rights, the rule of law and independent media in the country. The EU stressed the importance of the immediate release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners, of reversing the current repressive policies and of free and fair parliamentary elections in September. There is no place for political prisoners at the heart of Europe. At the same time, the EU remains attached to a policy of critical engagement with Belarus. And the Eastern Partnership provides an important platform to expose Belarus to those democratic values and the virtues of European cooperation.
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, saying that now with the Eastern Partnership to be more consolidated, there is more that the EU can offer to its partners, with the efforts undertaken in the negotiations of Association Agreements and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements bringing gradually results. There is a huge ambition shared by the partners and the EU Member States to achieve most of that by the time of the next summit in Vilnius at the end of next year.
||Cutaway of press
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Štefan Füle saying that there is no way around common and inherent values, and democratic principles, for the Eastern Partnership to deliver its results.
||Cutaways (2 shots)