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‘EU Eastern Partnership’ project proposed

By M. Alkhazashvili
Thursday, May 29
Earlier this week Poland and Sweden officially proposed an ‘EU Eastern Partnership’ project aimed at bolstering ties between the EU and its eastern neighbors.

At an EU General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting on May 26, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski said the project would involve Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

Belarus would have limited involvement in the project until it becomes more democratic.

Bildt said it was “time to look to the east to see what we can do to strengthen democracy,” while Sikorski billed the initiative as a preparation stage for EU membership.

“We all know the EU has enlargement fatigue. We have to use this time to prepare as much as possible so that when the fatigue passes, membership becomes something natural,” he said.

The Eastern Partnership would also act as a forum to discuss visa issues and free trade zones.

It is similar to the French proposal of a Union for the Mediterranean, which would aim to increase ties between the EU and its southern neighbors.