IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Commissioner Füle presented ENP Progress Reports
“Vilnius Summit to be a milestone in bringing partners closer to political association and economic integration” said Commissioner Füle on 20 March.
Stefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, presented the European Neighbourhood Policy Progress Reports to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament.
In his speech he outlined four main conclusions from the reports: Firstly, the process is still at its beginning, as the transition to democracy takes time. Secondly, although elections are an important step, they are just the first step which needs to be followed by political reforms. Thirdly, the importance of social-economic reforms must not be underestimated, as populations in partner countries need and demand jobs. Fourthly, the EU needs to maintain its engagement in the Neighbourhood and focus on implementation, while communicating the benefits of the EU offer better to populations in partner countries.
The Commissioner welcomed the progress made concerning Associations Agreements including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, but reminded that the signature of the agreement with Ukraine is subject to the fulfilment of the 10 December Council Conclusions by Ukraine. Furthermore he especially underlined the importance of the progress achieved concerning mobility of people and expressed his intention to put a stronger focus on this policy field.
Commissioner Füle highlighted the need for further differentiation within the neighbourhood according to the more-for-more principle and underlined the Eastern Partnership countries’ need for continues support. He stated that they deserve an “ambitious future” including a European Perspective in the line with Article 49 TEU if they share the EU’s principles of freedom, democracy and rule of law.
The Commissioner appreciated the growing role of Parliaments and the civil society in the Neighbourhood Policy and underlined that they are the main drivers of democratic reforms.
The full speech is available here.
The Country Progress Reports and the Eastern Partnership Implementation Report are available here: