In 2009, the EU launched the Eastern Partnership (EaP) which so far has been one of the most successful foreign policy initiatives of the EU. Consistently implemented EaP policy brings benefits. Currently, the EU has Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, including existing free trade agreements. The three countries of the EaP can already enjoy a visa-free regime with the EU: Moldova – from 2014, Georgia and Ukraine – from 2017. EU financial assistance granted to these three countries already reaches billions of euros.
Despite past successes, the EaP needs a revival to remain relevant in the future. It has to be forward-looking, injecting new dynamism and providing a clear political vision. The November 2017 Eastern Partnership Summit has made a promise to further deepen the EU’s integration with its eastern European neighbours.
In the next two years, all three countries will hold crucial national elections that will determine their future trajectory. Can the promise of a continued sectoral integration alone translate into a continued political commitment to reforms and modernisation in the region?
EURACTIV organised a high level debate to discuss concrete ways how the EU can contribute to successful implementation of necessary reforms in the associated countries, deepen political cooperation with the region and further advance its modernisation.
– What are the major issues hindering political association and economic integration with the EU?
– Are there enough incentives (and conditions) for the partner countries to deliver the expected results?
– What is the influence of other powers like Russia and China in the Eastern partnership?
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