Commissioner: Eastern Partnership does not offer EU membership perspective to its participants
Georgia, Tbilisi, April 29 /Trend/
European Union Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule said the Eastern Partnership does not offer an EU membership perspective to our Eastern partners.
"At the same time, it does not prejudge future developments, one way or the other. The Association Agreement currently being negotiated, with a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area at its heart and an impressive degree of alignment with EU laws, norms and standards reflects an unprecedented level of ambition in the European Union's relations with its Eastern European partners," Fule said in his interview with Mediamax.
He said this is more than just an improvement of the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreements , it is a transformational agenda which impacts throughout the whole society.
The values of the European Union - namely liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law - are at the heart of this process. These are the same values which, in accordance with Article 49 of the European Union Treaty, must be respected by all those European countries which have the strategic goal of European integration, he added.
"If countries are successful in the Association process - and success depends upon sustained commitment and hard work - then this will contribute to building as much of the European Union as possible within these countries, ensuring a positive impact and concrete benefits to their citizens," Fule said.
"To help the partners prepare for the negotiations of these agreements as well as to support their future implementation, we provide increased technical and financial support to strengthen their administrative capacity at all levels. Also, we are ready to address the socio-economic regional disparities using EU's cohesion policy as a model. In a nutshell there is enough incentive for reform, and I urge Armenia to fully seize the opportunities to undertake reforms, with the support by the EU," he said.
The Eastern Partnership envisages the political and economic approximation of six post-Soviet states - Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Armenia with the EU.
The program does not envisage opportunities for EU membership, but instead envisages facilitating the visa regime, energy cooperation, and the introduction of free trade zones. Small projects on student exchange, environmental protection, and energy supply will also be implemented.