Magazine article Europe-East

European Council/eastern Partnership : Summiteers Seal Deal on 600 Mn Euro Initiative

Magazine article Europe-East

European Council/eastern Partnership : Summiteers Seal Deal on 600 Mn Euro Initiative

Article excerpt

Concluding weeks of heated internal debate, EU leaders have sealed a deal on the final shape of the Eastern Partnership - a new policy providing for deeper political and economic ties with six Eastern neighbourhood countries. The final agreement, reached during the morning session of the 19-20 March spring summit, offers Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine financial support to the tune of 600 million till 2013, association and "deep and comprehensive free trade" agreements as well as - "on a case-by-case basis" and "as a long term goal" a full visa liberalisation.

According to a compromise agreement, the Eastern Partnership will be "governed by the principles of joint ownership, differentiation and conditionality," with "shared values, including democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights" as well as "the principles of market economy, sustainable development and good governance" featuring at "its core".

Despite opposition from some member states, which were afraid that the new policy will turn the financial balance towards the Eastern neighbourhood at the expense of assistance available for the Mediterranean region, the final summit conclusions mention explicitly the 600 million of funds to be earmarked specifically for the Eastern Partnership. "It is a great success. A year ago we had nothing and now we have 600 million," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told journalists. On the request of the most worried countries, the document notes, however, that the "financial support" in question "will respect the resources available under the multiannual financial framework". …

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