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European Commission - Statement

Commissioner Hahn's visit to Warsaw

12 January 2015


Commissioner Hahn visited Poland today and addressed the media following the meeting with Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna: 'I am delighted to be in Poland again, this time in my new capacity as Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations. We had an excellent cooperation during my term as Regional Policy Commissioner and I am convinced that this will be the case also during the Commission's new mandate.

Poland has proven as a former candidate country that Enlargement can be, indeed, a win-win-situation for both sides: the applicant country and the EU. Today Poland is in the top league of EU Member States both economically as well as with regard to proactive participation in EU politics. I would like to highlight in this respect especially Poland's commitment in the area of Foreign Policy: starting with its engagement in the Visegrad Group and the Weimar Triangle right through to its much appreciated contribution to the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) which leads me to the main reason of my today's visit.

2014 has been a significant year for the ENP, in particular the Eastern Partnership (EaP). The well-known events in Ukraine have tested the strength of the partnership model, the EU's solidarity and its determination to move forward together. Our actions stand as proof of our commitment and our desire to further consolidate the Eastern Partnership.

We have achieved a lot last year: Signature of the Association Agreements including the DCFTAs with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine was a historic milestone opening up a new quality level of relations. Implementation is now the key. Partners will need greater resolve to pursue reform. The EU will be a reliable partner on this way.

But there is no doubt that the ENP as a whole needs to be adapted in reaction to a dramatically changed environment. The "ring of friends" has changed into a "ring of fire" and attention has also to be paid to the "neighbours of the neighbours". Due to the crises and conflicts in our neighbourhood, the ENP has moved right to the centre of the EU's Foreign and Security Policy. The impact of this changed environment on the EU is enormous: we have to deal with instability, conflicts, migration, collapsing economies and societies. The recent attack in Paris has demonstrated that the divide between different cultures and ways of life has increased over the past years and has also reached the centre and heart of Europe.      

As for the ENP review, we will build on principles which will also be valid for the EaP: Differentiation, Inclusiveness, Flexibility, better use of Financial Instruments and increased visibility and ownership. A major challenge for the EaP will be to maintain its political attractiveness in view of other concepts promoted and pressured by Russia. We will certainly get valuable input on the perspectives of EaP at the summit in Riga. The Latvian Presidency is very committed and the meeting with Foreign Minister Scheytina has re-confirmed that I can rely on Poland as trustful and proactive partner in developing the EaP in a direction which will enable it to cope with the new challenges.'



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