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Eastern Partnership will help in five areas

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, March 31
The EUís Eastern Partnership Programme (EPP) will be officially launched in Prague on May 7. Six countries will participate in it initially: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The EU will allocate an extra EURO 350 million to these countries by 2013. The EPP does not envisage accepting these countries into the EU but ensures that the EU will establish very close political and economic connections with them.

Georgia will be allotted EURO 120.4 million under the EPP, a sum not treated as part of the EURO 500 million the EU promised to Georgia after the Russian aggression last year. To begin with the EPP will assist its partners in five specific areas: border defence, the development and facilitation of small and medium-sized businesses, the creation of a regional electric energy market, the facilitation of energy effectiveness and developing the South Caucasus transport and energy transit corridor.

There are serious hopes in Ukraine and Georgia that the EPP will be one more step towards their integration with NATO and the EU as it requires that partner countries coming closer to adopting the mutual values of NATO and the EU.