During the meeting between Eastern Partnership Countries’ Foreign Ministers and Josep Borrell Fontelles, the new High Representative and Vice President of European Union, on the sidelines of 26th Ministerial Council of OSCE in Bratislava today, the Foreign Ministers of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine introduced the joint statement to EU’s top diplomat, unveiling three nations’ ambitions for further integration into the European Union.
Davit Zalkaliani, Aureliu Ciocoi and Vadym Prystaiko, Foreign Ministers of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, respectively, have issued a joint statement on December 5, that declares “gradual integration aimed at achieving full access to the EU single market”, as well as other European benchmarks as the “ambitious target” for three EU Associated Eastern Partners (EaP).
The three Foreign Ministers declared that “new horizons should be opened in implementing the four freedoms [EU’s four freedoms of movement of goods, capital, services and persons] between EU and three Associated Partners, which will also lay ground to the creation of a common economic space.”
The joint statement by the three Foreign Ministers also declared that “as the European States respecting the founding values of the European Union, upon implementation of the Association Agreements and taking into consideration the will of our people,” Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine “will consider applying for the EU membership in accordance with the article 49 of the Treaty on European Union.”
Noting that European integration is the “free choice” of their people, the Georgian, Moldovan and Ukrainian FMs underscore that their choice “must be fully respected and be free from pressure by any third party.”
The three Foreign Ministers also suggest establishment of a separate format of a dialogue between their countries and the EU. The three countries are inviting the EU to consider establishing “EU+ Three Associated Partners dialogue” in the areas of transport, energy, justice and digital economy.
The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009 as a joint policy initiative to promote political association and economic integration between the European Union, its Member States and its six Eastern neighbors: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
According to the statement, the next Eastern Partnership summit in 2020 “should define a long-term, strategic, forward-looking agenda with political objectives and new benchmarks for the Partnership that will open the way for building ever closer relations between the EU and Eastern European partners.”
The statement also expressed “strong condemnation of the clear violation of the territorial integrity of the sovereign states within the internationally recognized borders” and called on the EU “to play a more visible role and further increase its engagement in peaceful conflict resolution in the EaP area, inter alia, by strengthening the EU presence in conflict-affected countries.”