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Reforms, Investments, Security - EaP Summit Adopts Joint Declaration

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, December 17
The 6th EU Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit was held in Brussels on 15 December, which, in the words of European Council President Charles Michel, “is an opportunity to demonstrate that, despite today's challenges, the EaP is of strategic importance.”

This importance and commitment to the commitments to the welfare, security and democratic development of the EaP countries is clearly underlined in the Summit Declaration.

The summit was hosted by the leaders of Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan, President of the European Council, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative Joseph Borrell. Belarus, whose relations with the European Union have deteriorated since the 2020 elections, did not attend the summit.

The summit discussed the EaP's updated 2020 agenda, which aims to restore and improve sustainability, and pursue ambitious reforms.

The agenda envisages a Euro 2.3 billion economic and investment plan for the Eastern Partnership countries. The summit was divided into five main areas - economics, governance, digital, environment and society.

At the end of the summit, participants noted their commitment to shared values, accountability, inclusiveness and diversity. They condemned the actions of the Belarusian authorities and the mobilization of Russian troops along the borders of Ukraine.

The one-day summit of the EaP on December 15 traditionally ended with the adoption of the Declaration of Heads of State.

“The EU continues to stress the importance of the principle of inclusivity, providing equal access to opportunities and resources to all interested partners,” the document says.

The declaration states that the EU will continue to support the implementation of the EaP European school in Georgia along with the support for culture and creative industries.

The document also emphasises that the EU remains committed in its support to the territorial integrity within their internationally recognised borders, independence, and sovereignty of all Eastern partners. Joint declaration calls for renewed efforts for promoting the peaceful settlement of unresolved conflicts in the EaP region based on the principles and norms of international law.

According to the President of the European Council, the summit identified 4 main areas - first, that the partnership is based on the rule of law and democratic governance. The summit participants support the further strengthening of democracy in the region, the protection of fundamental human rights and the promotion of an inclusive society.

The next important issue is commitment to reform. According to Michelle, the summit was an opportunity to once again express the ambition to carry out reforms that will be aimed at meeting the expectations of citizens.

The 3rd direction is the investment package. According to Michelle, the EU proves to be a serious and reliable partner. The EU will support specific projects, small and medium-sized business initiatives that will contribute to the development of the partnership. The EaP should facilitate the region's greater integration into the EU, which includes the introduction of unified roaming, the expansion of Erasmus for students, greater integration into Eurozone, and more.

The last area highlighted by Michel is security. He said the EU wants to see a prosperous as well as a secure and stable region. Prosperity and security even help each other.

The declaration expresses concern over the recent escalation of the situation in the region and reiterates that there is no alternative to the peaceful settlement of conflicts.