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Today at the third Eastern Partnership summit

European Commission - MEMO/13/1074   29/11/2013

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European Commission

MEMO

Vilnius, 29 November 2013

Today at the third Eastern Partnership summit

The signing ceremony at the Eastern Partnership Summit included the following items:

1. Signature of a visa facilitation agreement with Azerbaijan (See also Council press release)

o Signing for the Presidency of the Council and the EU: Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius and Commissioner Stefan Füle

o For Azerbaijan: Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov

2. Signature of a framework agreement with Georgia on participation in EU Crisis management operations

o Signing for the EU: High Representative Catherine Ashton

o For Georgia: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maia Panjikidze

Remarks by President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy (text), President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso (text) and President of Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite.

3. Initialling of an Association Agreement including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with Georgia, followed by remarks from Georgian Foreign Minister

o For EU: High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Karel De Gucht

o For Georgia: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maia Panjikidze

4. Initialling of Association Agreement including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the Republic of Moldova, followed by remarks from the Moldovan Prime Minister

o For EU: High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Karel De Gucht

o For Republic of Moldova: Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Iurie Leanca

The initialling of a civil aviation agreement with Ukraine took place yesterday

See also:

Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit - Eastern Partnership: the way ahead

Joint Statement by the European Union and the Republic of Armenia

President Barroso's remarks at the Plenary Session of the 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit

Opening remarks by President Herman Van Rompuy at the Eastern Partnership summit

President Barroso's statement at the press conference

Remarks by President Herman Van Rompuy at the press conference

Full video coverage is available for download in broadcast quality from the Council TV newsroom www.eucouncil.tv and on Europe by Satellite

Photos covering the event is available for download in high resolution from the Council Photo Library http://www.consilium.europa.eu/photo

Background

The Eastern Partnership provides for the possibility of concluding Association Agreements with each of the participating states who currently have Partnership and Cooperation Agreements. Negotiations on such Agreements have been launched in January 2010 with the Republic of Moldova and in July 2010 with Azerbaijan, Armenia (discontinued in October 2013) and Georgia. Moldova completed its negotiations in June 2013 and Georgia in July 2013 and both countries are expected to initial their respective agreements at the Vilnius summit. The new accords include deep and comprehensive free trade areas. The EU has been negotiating with Ukraine since March 2007 for an Association Agreement including a deep and comprehensive free trade area. These talks were concluded in 2012. Ukraine decided in November 2013 to suspend temporarily the preparations for signing of the Agreement. Since Azerbaijan is not yet a member of the WTO, a DCFTA with that country cannot be envisaged at this moment. Ratification of an EU-Belarus Partnership and Cooperation Agreement has been frozen since 1997 due to the political situation in the country.

Visa liberalisation remains a shared objective of individual partner countries and the EU alike. This is a core objective of the Eastern Partnership and will be discussed by heads of state at the summit. Considerable progress has been made in the area of visa facilitation and liberalisation: with signature of an EU-Azerbaijan agreement at the summit, five out of six partners (all but Belarus) already have or will soon have Visa Facilitation Agreements with the EU; two of them (Georgia and Ukraine) have managed to advance even more – they now have Visa Liberalisation Actions Plans, prepared specifically to them, full and effective implementation of which will bring these countries visa free travels with the EU. For Moldova, the European Commission has adopted on 27 November a proposal to waive the visa obligation for Moldovan citizens in possession of biometric passports.

The agreement with Georgia on a framework for participation in EU crisis management operations provides a permanent legal basis for the involvement of Georgia in on-going and future EU crisis management efforts around the world. It can be activated whenever Georgia, upon the European Union's invitation, decides to join an EU crisis management operation.

The European Commission received a mandate for negotiating a "Common Aviation Area" Agreement with Ukraine in December 2006. Both sides will soon start their respective internal procedures for the signature of the Agreement and its entry into force. Similar comprehensive air transport agreements have been signed with other neighbouring countries, namely the Western Balkans, Morocco, Georgia, Jordan, Moldova and Israel.

Summit press release: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-1169_en.htm

Summit factsheet: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-1057_en.htm


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