EU plans stronger Ties with East European Neighbours
The European Commission has announced that it is working on an 'Eastern Partnership'
with Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and possibly Belarus –
the countries lying on its eastern borders, which holds out the possibility
of future accession to the EU. The idea of an Eastern Partnership was first
launched in May 2008 by Poland and Sweden, who called for the EU to upgrade
its relations with above-mentioned countries. The involvement of Belarus however
Ukraine's ambassador to the EU, Andri Veselovski, has declared that the country hopes for a partnership modeled on the defunct Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, as a precursor to future EU membership. The Stability Pact was established by the international community following the 1999 war in Kosovo, with the aim of contributing to reconciliation and post-war reconstruction and fostering regional cooperation.
Veselovski also voiced Ukraine's desire that the new structure should have its headquarters in Brussels to give better access to European decision-makers, and that it should be named the 'Eastern European Partnership'.
A spokesperson for EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner announced that the European Commission's proposal for an 'Eastern Partnership' was a "more comprehensive effort" than that of Ukraine. She also said that the decision to name it 'Eastern Partnership' had already been taken. The communication will be adopted in early December.