Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. August / Trend E. Ostapenko /
The success of the
Eastern Partnership represents a substantial resource which can strengthen our community significantly, said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who will head the EU presidency in the first half of 2011.
"The Hungarian EU Presidency in the first half of next year considers the promotion of the Eastern Partnership to be one of its most important objectives in foreign policy," he said in an interview published on the Council of the European Union's website ENPI.
Hungary took the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union from Belgium during a ceremony on 6 January 2011.
"Eastern Partnership" is aimed at political and economic rapprochement of six post-Soviet states - Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus with the European Union. The program does not provide opportunities for EU membership, but also involves facilitating the visa regime, energy cooperation and introduction of free trade zones. There will be carried out projects on student exchange, environmental protection and energy supply.
"We will even organize an Eastern Partnership Summit in Budapest next May," Orban said.
He said that if the EU wants to be successful in the global arena, then it must be successful back home as well.
"In the course of preparation for the Presidency, I conducted an extensive consultation process throughout Europe: I met all fellow prime ministers, but I also had talks with the leaders of countries participating in the Eastern Partnership and with several heads of government of the Balkan region. My experience was that everybody was interested in a strong Europe because it is a source of support and resources for all nations. In this spirit, we will do everything we can to make sure that the community and the "Europe 2020" strategy become successful, "he added.
New economic strategy of the European Union "Europe 2020" was developed by the European Commission. It identifies three key drivers of economic growth: smart growth (promoting knowledge, innovation, education and digital society), steady growth (efficient use of resources and improvement of competitiveness) and integrating growth (increasing employment of citizens and fighting against poverty).