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Budapest, 29 April 2014
Eastern European partners deserve a different future
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle, participated in the 5th Annual Visegrad Group (V4) meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs on Eastern Partnership countries in Budapest. This is what he said following the meeting:
'Just a few days ago, in Prague, we discussed the Eastern Partnership on the occasion of the 5th anniversary since its establishment with Presidents of several Partner and Member States. This Ministerial meeting of Visegrad and EaP countries is another sign of our commitment to the Eastern Partnership.
And it is also one more occasion to stress that this policy is not about creating new dividing lines; it is not a zero-sum game at someone else's expense, it creates opportunities.
The main principle of the Eastern Partnership is that we engage on the basis of common values – the respect for human rights and freedoms, democracy, the rule of law and free and sovereign choices of the countries to decide their orientation and direction.
Yet, we are facing the most serious crisis in Europe since the end of the World War II. We are witnessing economic coercion, threats and a covert action to instigate protests and instability. This is the time to show an even stronger, more determined and resolute commitment to the Eastern Partnership.
And we are showing such commitment: As of yesterday Moldovan citizens can travel to the EU without visas. In the coming weeks and months we will complete the signature procedure of the Association Agreement/DCFTA with Ukraine and sign similar agreements with Georgia and Moldova.
Just today the Commission adopted a special support package worth €365 million for Ukraine to respond to the urgent need of stabilising the country. And 60 million for Georgia and Moldova to help them with the implementation of the Association Agreements.
Signature and the consequent implementation of the Association Agreements including DCFTAs will seal the irreversibility of political association and economic integration. We are looking to make real progress on our joint ambition with Armenia and Azerbaijan and continue to work with Belarus.
Our Eastern European partners have had their rocky past, they deserve a different future. And we are ready to help them shaping it.'