1 st Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers meeting (09/12/2009)
The first Meeting of Foreign Ministers in the framework of the Eastern Partnership on 8 December 2009 in Brussels gathered foreign ministers of 27 Member States, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as well as EU institutions.
“Thanks to the joint commitment and efforts of all partners the Eastern Partnership has had an excellent start. Within a very short time we have achieved significant steps towards strengthening and deepening our relations - bilaterally and multilaterally…We have a joint goalpolitical and economic stability, prosperity in the partner countries as well as increasing convergence with EU policies.”said Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner."We are keeping our promise to achieve tangible results for the countries and citizens of the Eastern Partnership”, she added.
The Eastern Partnership with its bilateral and multilateral components answers the aspirations of all Eastern Partnership countries to come closer to the European Union, both politically and economically.
Bilaterallythe Eastern Partnership offers deeper relations according to partner’s needs and ambitions, i.e. through newAssociation Agreements(for those partners that have made sufficient progress towards democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and principles of market economy, sustainable development and good governance).
Currently, negotiations with Ukraine ongoing; talks with Republic of Moldova will start in the beginning of 2010 and final work on negotiation mandates for Caucasus countries is ongoing.
A Comprehensive Institution Building programme will be launched early 2010 with an expert mission to identify the individual administrative needs of partner countries to implement the necessary reforms and thus to be prepared for deeper and further reaching relations with the EU.
On the multilateral side thematic platforms have been constituted to address four main areas of interest:
• democracy, good governance and stability;
• economic integration and convergence with EU sectoral policies;
• energy security;
• Contacts between people.
In their meetings these four thematic platforms have adopted their Work Programmes for the next two years and started specific activities and projects. A first expert meeting on integrated border management took place in Odessa in mid-October. On 27 November a donor’s conference took place in Stockholm in order to promote energy efficiency projects in the partner countries. A cooperation project on civil protection will be launched in Gothenburg on 9 December. During the first quarter of 2010 the two remaining flagship initiatives for Small and Medium Enterprises and on Environmental governance will be launched.
The Eastern Partnership will benefit from additional financial support of € 350 million for the period till 2013 which will add up to a total of € 600 million.