Eastern Partnership: Path to stability and prosperity
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 29 / Trend N. Huseynova /
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) completes the EU's foreign policy towards Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus countries as a specific Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Launched in May 2009 at the Prague Summit, the EaP fosters the necessary conditions to accelerate political association and further economic integration between the European Union and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, ENPI reported .
The EaP Foreign Ministers emphasized at their meeting on 13 December 2010 the strategic importance of the Partnership as a way to deepen and strengthen relations between the EU and the partner countries, to speed up their political association, economic integration and approximation towards the EU and to support their modernization efforts.
The Partnership foresees stronger political engagement with the EU, namely: the prospect of a new generation of Association Agreements; integration into the EU economy with deep free trade agreements; enhanced energy security arrangements; increased financial assistance; deeper cooperation on environment and climate issues; increased people-to-people contacts and greater involvement of civil society.
Since its launch in 2009, the Eastern Partnership has gone a long way in shaping the agenda of cooperation between the EU and its eastern neighbours and providing a solid framework for sharing expertise and best practices. The initiative has given rise to new platforms for dialogue at the government and expert level (thematic platforms), as well as in the fields of parliamentary and participatory democracy (Euronest; Civil Society Forum and the Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities - COLREAP ) .