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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following the Eastern Partnership Summit
Eastern Partnership Summit
Warsaw, 30 September 2011
Dzień dobry ponownie w Warszawie.
Let me start by warmly thanking the Polish Presidency of the Council and by Prime-Minister Tusk. This Eastern Partnership owns much to the exceptional leadership of Poland and Donald Tusk.
We have just concluded our plenary meeting and I would like to join my colleagues here assessing this Summit as a very successful one.
I particularly appreciated the quality of our dialogue, the very open and transparent way each comment - but sometimes also different views - were expressed. I also want to underline the very substantive Joint Declaration we have approved today which point the way forward in many areas of our cooperation. So now we have a clear roadmap for the next two years.
It is true that on the European Union's side we would have wished to include a reference to Belarus there but for some reasons this was not possible. But the European Union Member States, all of them, and the European institutions have made a statement that clearly indicates our shared position. I would like to highlight, however, that from the different interventions in the room I think we can say that probably there are differences on the methods but we all share the same goal, that of a democratic and free Belarus closely associated with the other partners of the region and of course with all the members of the European Union.
This meeting confirmed that the Eastern Partnership is a credible framework and we are going to pursue it with vigour.
This Summit, its high level of attendance - it is impressive, the number of Heads of States and Governments that could come having very busy agendas in their capitals, to support this effort - this high level of attendance and the concrete results show how important is really for us this Eastern Partnership.
I would like to highlight that this in not a normal diplomatic exercise, it is not just about contacts between the governments or diplomats, it is about transformational power of the relations between the European Union and our neighbours and also to engage societies. So it is indeed an extremely ambitious project.
The Warsaw summit has also been a great opportunity to reiterate the principle that our partnership has to be rooted in a joint commitment to the values of democracy, human rights, pluralism, good governance and the rule of law.
This summit also gave us real evidence that we have been making progress in the implementation of the Eastern Partnership for over nearly two years when we last met in Prague.
Let me now mention briefly the points were the Commission has special responsibility:
The progress we made on trade: we put it at the heart of our economic relations. We have agreed on a timeframe for the signing of an Association agreement including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Ukraine and for the start of negotiations on trade agreements with the Republic of Moldova and with Georgia.
Second, mobility of citizens: we made a significant step ahead towards visa free regime, notably with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.
Third, the implementation of the five Flagship Initiatives is successfully progressing. These initiatives are part of the multilateral track of the Eastern Partnership. They cover a diversity of sectors, from border management, to economic development, energy, transport, environmental protection and social and human dimension.
Funds that the EU has already dedicated to various bilateral and regional projects within the framework of the Eastern Partnership help to connect the EU with its Eastern partners. I do not mean only the funds that are in the EU budget but also the very important action of our bank, the European Investment Bank, and also the EBRD.
Let me remind you that the European Commission proposed new financial measures that would comply with the even more ambitious approach to carry out the European Neighbourhood Policy including of course the Eastern Partnership.
We have also proposed to increase substantially the financial allocation for the Neighbourhood to €16.1 billion from €11.2 billion under the current financial envelope.
To conclude let me tell that it is symbolic that this summit takes place in Poland, a country which, together with Sweden, initiated the Eastern Partnership.
I would like also to thank Hungary and Prime Minister Orban for the important contribution since preparations started under the Hungarian presidency.
It is also symbolic that we are meeting here exactly 20 years after the regaining of independence by the partner countries.