IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Joint Declaration of the Warsaw Eastern Partnership Summit
The Heads of State or Government and representatives of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the representatives of the European Union and the Heads of State and Government and representatives of its Member Stateshave met in Warsaw on 29-30 September 2011 to renew their commitment to the objectives and continued implementation of the Eastern Partnership. The President of the European Parliament and the representatives of the Committee of the Regions, the Economic and Social Committee, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development were also present at the Summit.
The Prague Summit in May 2009 launched a strategic and ambitious Eastern Partnership as a specific dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy, to further support Eastern European countries’ sustainable reform processes with a view to accelerating their political association and economic integration with the European Union. The agenda agreed in Prague contains the guiding principles of the Eastern Partnership, and the participants of the Warsaw Summit re-affirm their commitment to implement them fully.
The Warsaw Summit recognises that reinforced reform efforts serve a common interest, and need therefore to be applied in a spirit of shared ownership and mutual accountability. The Eastern Partnership is based on a community of values and principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. All countries participating in the Eastern Partnership are committed to these values through the relevant international instruments. Any European Union Member State is also committed to them through the Treaty on European Union. The participants of the Warsaw Summit acknowledge the European aspirations and the European choice of some partners and their commitment to build deep and sustainable democracy. They highlighted the particular role for the Eastern Partnership to support those who seek an ever closer relationship with the EU.
Much has been achieved already. Political and economicreforms have been implemented in partner countries and relations between the EU and its Eastern Europeanpartners have deepened significantly. There is more trade and economic interaction between the EU and its Eastern European partners than ever before. In order to consolidate this trend, the EU and most of its partners are engaged in negotiations on Association Agreements which will also lead to Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas as soon as the conditions are met. At the same time, they are engaged in progressing towards increased mobility across the continent. Dialogues on visa-free regimes have been launched with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. Visa-facilitation and readmission agreements are being implemented with Georgia and similar agreements will be sought with the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Belarus.
It is part of the essence of the Eastern Partnership to engage with all strands of societies, beyond governments. The Warsaw Summit welcomesthe establishment of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, as well as the increased role of civil society, through the Civil Society Forum. It welcomesthe creation of an Eastern Partnership Business Forum and of the Conference of Regional and Local Authorities of the Eastern Partnership.
Recognising and welcoming the progress made so far, the participants of the Warsaw Summit underlined that much remains to be done to reach the goals of the Eastern Partnership, including by adapting existing instruments of co-operation. In this regard, they welcomed the publication of theCommunication of the High Representative and the Commission on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Greater differentiation and mutual accountability will allow individual partners tobetter meet their aspirations, needs, and capacities. According to these principles, the pace of reforms will determine the intensity of the cooperation, and partnersmost engaged in reforms will benefit more from their relationship with the European Union, including closer political association, deeper gradual economic integration in the EU Internal Marketand increasedEU support. This entails support for civil society and social and economic development, as well as comprehensive institution-building, strengthening respect for human rights and the rule of law, greater market access, increased EIB financing in support of investments and greater facilitation of mobility in a well-managed and secure environment. The resolution of conflicts, building trust and good neighbourly relations are essential to economic and social development and cooperation in the region.
The participants agree that the Eastern Partnership must be significantly strengthened and commit to stepping up its implementation, with the objective of building a common areaof democracy, prosperity, stability and increased interactions and exchanges. They also agree that the achievements and the progress of the Eastern Partnership must bring direct and clearly perceived benefits to the citizens of partner countries, and they commit to enhancing their efforts to make the Eastern Partnership visible to all.