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EU Eastern Partnership picks up momentum

By M. Alkhazashvili
Translated by Davit Kipiani
Thursday, June 19
A number of EU members have backed a proposed EU Eastern Partnership project which now looks set to be formally agreed upon at this week’s EU summit.

The project, officially proposed by the foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland last month, would involve Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova, with limited involvement from Belarus.

It is aimed at building stronger ties between these countries and the EU and would act as a forum to discuss visa issues and free trade zones.

Speaking at a press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Gdansk earlier this week, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel gave confirmed Germany’s backing.

“I totally support the initiative of Sweden and Poland…it’s very important for us to get eastern partners involved in mutual neighborhood policy,” the news agency Regnum quoted Merkel as saying on June 16.

“On Friday [20 June], we will ask the European Commission for concrete proposals so that this initiative does not give rise to mere titles, but to concrete projects,” she added, according the EU Observer.

The Polish Prime Minister said that Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia endorsed the project the same day.

Officially proposing the project in May, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said it was “time to look to the east to see what we can do to strengthen democracy.”

“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 added.