Magazine article Europe-East

Eastern Partnership : Prague to Host Summit on Regional Initiative

Magazine article Europe-East

Eastern Partnership : Prague to Host Summit on Regional Initiative

Article excerpt

The Czech EU Presidency has confirmed that the special summit on the Eastern Partnership will take place on 7 May in Prague and not in Brussels as scheduled earlier. It also admitted that a question mark still hangs over the participation of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in this high-level event. After a meeting of EU justice and interior ministers, on 6 April in Luxembourg, Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Alexandr Vondra told reporters that a decision concerning Lukashenko's participation will be taken at the very last moment.

Without prejudging whether an invitation will be ultimately sent to Lukashenko, Vondra said that it is important to motivate Minsk by positive rather than negative steps. He admitted, however, that "this policy has so far produced partial results". "We are far from saying that the situation has considerably improved" in Belarus, Vondra added.

The special summit in Prague is to launch the Eastern Partnership - a new regional EU initiative set up as an integral part of the already existing European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). It is expected to bring together leaders from the 27 EU member states and the six participating countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine).

However, the EU member states have not yet reached a consensus whether Lukashenko, who is responsible for serious breaches of human rights in his country, should take part in the Prague summit. …

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