What is the Eastern Partnership?

What is the Eastern Partnership?

The Eastern Partnership represents an initiative of consolidation and enhancement of EU cooperation with eastern states (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) of European Neighbourhood Policy with the aim of supporting and accelerating their gradual rapprochement with the EU.

Officially launched on the 7th of May 2009 within the Eastern Partnership Prague Summit, the initiative is governed by the principles of joint actions, diversity and conditionality, and common values such as democracy, state of law, human rights, market economy, sustainable development and good governance are the foundation of this partnership.

The Eastern Partnership is embodied within a larger framework of European Neighbourhood Policy, which emerged within the context of the European enlargement in 2004 with the aim of preventing the creation of demarcation lines and to bring the new eastern and southern Europe Neighbourhood closer at the political, economic and value level.

The Eastern Partnership is an EU political instrument that structures cooperation with partner states on two dimensions: bilateral (signing and implementing association agreements, creating a free and deep free trade area, liberalizing the visa regime) and multilateral, through thematic platforms and flagship initiatives. Cooperation on the EaP parliamentary dimension is taking place within the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly.

CORLEAP is the platform that brings together partner countries within the EU's Committee of the Regions, and the Civil Society Forum of the EU, which contributes to the strengthening of civil society's role in achieving the EaP objective. In 2012, Moldova was the first non-EU country to organize the Civil Society Forum.

The Vilnius EaP Summit, held on 28-29 November 2013, assessed the progress of the six partner countries while setting the next targets for the 2014-2015.

The EaP Summit in Riga, held on May 21-22, 2015 highlighted the difference that emerged between EU member states - Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia; and the other participants within the Eastern Partnership: Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus.

The EaP Summit in Brussels, held on the 24th of November 2017, highlighted the importance of bilateral relations between the European Union and each of the Eastern Partnership countries. At the Summit were agreed the 20 Deliverables for 2020, the implementation of which will bring Eap closer to the citizens and their needs.

The Republic of Moldova is an active participant within the EaP and fully values the more for more principle, based on a pragmatic approach of the opportunities offered both on the bilateral and multilateral level with the aim of advancing towards the strategic goal of European integration.

On the bilateral dimension, Moldova achieved the three major objectives set in 2009 in Prague: political association, economic integration and visa liberalization. Thus, at the current stage, the Republic of Moldova is focusing its efforts on the full implementation of the Association Agreement and the fulfillment of all bilateral and sectorial agreements signed with the EU so far.

In 2019, in the context of the Eastern Partnership’ 10th anniversary, the Republic of Moldova contributed to the structured consultation process to reflect on the future strategic direction of the EaP, organized by the European Commission. MFAEI representatives participated in several meetings dedicated to this anniversary. In September a public discussion with Mr. Christian Danielsson, Director-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission was held. In October 2019, the EaP Think Tank Forum took place in Chisinau, as well as the visit of the EU Ambassadors-at-Large for Eastern Partnership from 18 European states. On December 5, 2019, on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting in Bratislava, three partner countries, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, have signed a Joint Statement on the Future of the Eastern Partnership.

In 2020, the main focus of all countries and institutions involved is on preparations for the Eastern Partnership Summit. In the context of the restrictions imposed due to the epidemiological crisis, discussions on the date of the Summit continue. An important event in this regard has been the publication by the European Commission of the Joint Communication: Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020: Reinforcing Resilience – an Eastern Partnership that delivers for all. This document reflects the European institutions vision and proposals on future cooperation within EaP.