Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit, held in Brussels on December 15, says that in line with the principles of differentiation and inclusivity, the EU acknowledges the initiative of the trio of associated partners Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, to enhance the cooperation with the EU.
The document reads that the EU and the interested governments in Tbilisi, Kyiv and Chișinău will explore options for “enhanced sectoral cooperation,” including, among others, the areas of the twin green and digital transitions, connectivity, energy security, justice and home affairs, strategic communication and healthcare.
The Joint Declaration says it acknowledges the European aspirations and the European choice of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as stated in their Association Agreements with the European Union. “The agreements provide for accelerating political association and economic integration with the European Union.”
The document “takes good note” of the increased coordination among the three nations on the issues of common interest related to the implementation of the Association Agreements and DCFTAs, and on cooperation within the Eastern Partnership.
The document, signed by the leaders of the Eastern Partner nations — Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as heads of state or government of EU member states and EU representatives, also recognizes that “the EU’s conditionality and incentive-based approach (“more-for-more” and “less-for-less”) will continue to benefit those partners most engaged in implementing reforms.”
It notes that the European Union’s support — reflecting the conditionality and incentive-based approach — will be conditional on the implementation of agreed reforms. “This will influence structural reforms, particularly in the rule of law and justice reform and anti-corruption.”
Stressing the determination to to further strengthening democracy and the rule of law, the text underlines the importance of the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of minorities, fostering inclusive societies, gender equality and full respect for the norms of international law.
“We have come together to reaffirm our strong commitment to our strategic, ambitious and forward-looking Eastern Partnership, which remains firmly based on common fundamental values, mutual interests and shared ownership, responsibility, inclusivity, differentiation and mutual accountability,” the document notes.
It further stressed that the Eastern Partnership is a “constructive partnership, which is not directed against anyone, but is designed to contribute to peace and prosperity for all countries in the neighborhood.”
The next Eastern Partnership Summit in slated for 2023.
NB: This article was updated on 13:10, December 16.