IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Preparations for Vilnius Summit on track
The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President fo the Commission Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Stefan Füle attended the Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Visegrad countries in Krakow on 17 May 2013 and met with Foreign Ministers from the Eastern Partnership countries. The aim of the meeting ahead of the EaP Foreign Ministers meeting on 22 July was to discuss progress towards key milestones on the road to Vilnius.
At the end of the meeting in Krakow Ashton confirmed the EU's commitment to the Eastern Partners and expressed the EU's aspirations for a successful summit to be hosted in Vilnius. She underlined the need of the strength of the EU's commitment to be visible to the partner countries and the need for a strong and deep relationship with the European Union evident. She said: "I hope that the Vilnius Summit will be successful and will give us opportunity to move forward with all the agreements. But it depends on the commitment and willingness of our partners to the East to address the open issues".
With this last statement, she referred also to the adoption of the proposal for Council Decisions on the signing and provisional application as well as the conclusion of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement by the Commission on 15 May 2013. The proposal was adopted without prejudice to a future political decision on a possible signature, but is a necessary preparatory step in order to be technically ready for the possible signing of the Association Agreement including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with Ukraine at the Summit in Vilnius. The EU side reaffirmed that the signature of the agreement remains conditional on determined action and tangible progress by Ukraine on all benchmarks set out in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of 10 December 2012.
However, the adoption of the proposal shows that the EU is serious about signing the Association Agreement with Ukraine, if the political conditions are met by the Ukrainian side.
A comprehensive article on the Visegrad Foreign Ministers Meeting is available here.
The full press communications on the adoption of the proposal for Council Decisions is available here.