Check against delivery!
12 March 2018, Brussels
Today, we officially launch the new structure for the Eastern Partnership and set the scene for our stepped-up efforts to implement the “20 Deliverables for 2020”.
The success of the Eastern Partnership Summit on 24 November in Brussels was due to the continued commitment by both the EU and the six partner countries. Your active participation (through non-papers and 20 Deliverables for 2020) helped shape our clear work plan that concretely improves the lives of all of our citizens. We all have set the bar high! Time to deliver!
2018 is the first year for delivery of results and strengthening EU visibility in the new setting. We have together adjusted the Eastern Partnership´s structure of Platforms and Panels. We aim to create a genuinely comprehensive approach, transgressing the silos that often exist within our structures.
We need also to become more operational and efficient to be able to implement the Deliverables.
Let me underline that the engagement and ownership of Member States and Partner Countries is key to guide, coordinate and steer the overall process.
It is now crucial that we keep up the momentum after the Summit to inject a new dynamism into the Eastern Partnership and renew our joint engagement towards comprehensive reforms in Partner Countries.
This will demonstrate that the EU and its Partner Countries are highly committed to keep on working together and becoming stronger together.
This new structure strives to bring around the table relevant stakeholders at all levels, including civil society, businesses, International Financial Institutions, youth representatives, etc.
Our common challenge this year is to deliver results by the Autumn Ministerial in the four key areas of cooperation: economic development and market; strengthening institutions and good governance; connectivity, energy efficiency and climate change; mobility and people-to-people contacts.
More concretely, we are going to make our economies stronger.
In this respect, private investments in our partner countries are key. The External Investment Plan will close an important gap by de-risking private investments. We will provide SMEs better access to financial support in local currency.
Moreover, harmonising our digital markets and improving intra-regional trade will contribute to boosting the economy.
We will achieve stronger governance in the interest of citizens.
Meaningful engagement of civil society in all spheres of socio-economic and political life will be crucial and we are working on simplified ways of engaging with civil society. Civil Society Fellowships for young leaders have been launched in 2017 to foster youth participation and engagement in society.
We work towards stronger connectivity which increases the links between us.
More specifically, we will focus on extending the core TEN-T network and increasing energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is an investment in the future in many aspects: it enhances security & resilience, creates jobs and improves the environment.
Last but not least, we are going to ensure that our societies become stronger.
In this field we will now focus on presenting a substantial and comprehensive Youth and Education Package, encompassing actions in the areas of education, employment, entrepreneurship, culture and innovation. I am glad to say that one of the key features of the package will be the launch of the Eastern Partnership European School in Tbilisi in September this year.
I am also pleased to announce that we have today in this room six Young European Ambassadors among us.
Our citizens must know why we are doing all this - we all need to stress our shared goals more clearly. This is why we will step-up strategic communication through positive examples and success stories, particularly with a view of counter-acting disinformation.
The new structure for the Eastern Partnership has been designed precisely to implement the Deliverables. And the key word is OPERATIONAL:
The Platforms represent our four priorities of stronger economy, stronger governance, stronger connectivity and stronger societies and will be key for the delivery of concrete results.
While Panels advance the work at expert level under each of the "20 Deliverables", the Platforms steer and monitor them. They will report to the Foreign Affairs Ministerial, with the active engagement of the Senior Officials Meetings.
Our new working methods will enable us to further improve the link between policy dialogue and financial assistance, including our strategic engagement with International Financial Institutions. We will align our financial priorities with concrete agreements on the implementation of our political deliverables.
In addition, the structure brings together relevant stakeholders at all levels: Member States, Partner Countries, civil society, businesses, International Financial Institutions, youth representatives, think-thanks. I welcome and highly appreciate your presence here today and your continued engagement in order to facilitate greater ownership and strategic focus on delivering results.
With our new work programmes and our first meetings under the new structure today as well as in the weeks to come we mark the beginning of a new process following the Summit. We want to be held accountable for the progress we reach on the "20 Deliverables by 2020". I am confident that the new Eastern Partnership structure will be instrumental for us to achieve what we promised.