IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Forum calls on the EU to support Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in their European choice
The third summit of the Eastern Partnership, which was initiated by Poland and Sweden in 2009, will take place in Vilnius in November 2013. In Vilnius it is planned to sign an Association Agreement (AA) including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) agreement with Ukraine and initial an AA with Moldova and Georgia. The initialing of a similar agreement with Armenia is uncertain as the country has declared that it wants to join the Customs Union which is the beginning of an Eurasian Union which Russia wants to build in competition to the European Union. The declaration by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia of their will to closely cooperate with the EU and implement a European choice needs to be supported by various milieux in the EU member states. This is particularly true of those who have been engaged in introducing European standards into the political, economic and social life of the Eastern Partnership countries. These activities have reached millions of beneficiaries who now know how to change the life of their own localities working from the bottom up as well as how to put pressure on the national authorities to make changes required for the functioning of a democratic state.
Ukraine occupies a special place in relations with the EU. Its integration process will be confirmed by the signing at the Summit of the AA. This will be a test for the credibility and efficacy of the Eastern Partnership initiative. The results of this test will influence the next steps of the authorities in Moldova and Georgia which after initialing their Association Agreements will press for a speedy signing of these agreements.
We appeal to the governments of the EU member states as well as of the Eastern Partnership to make every effort to ensure that this opportunity given us at the beginning of the new century should not be wasted. We also turn to the Ukrainian authorities to a resolve the problem of the continued imprisonment of Julia Tymoshenko in such a way as to satisfy the demands of defenders of democratic values at home and the international community including the European Union.
Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia need change and reforms. The impulse for that comes because they hope to participate in a “Europe of common values” This is the Europe which the nongovernmental sector has been building in the Eastern Partnership countries. The success of the Vilnius Summit will provide us with extra motivation to intensify our common efforts at building a safer and more secure Europe which will ensure peace and well being for future generations.