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Home / Statements / DECLARATION BY THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON THE EASTERN PARTNERSHIP. Council of the European Union, Brussels, 20.03.2009
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1. Promoting stability, good governance and economic development in its Eastern
neighbourhood is of strategic importance for the European Union. The EU therefore has a
strong interest in developing an increasingly close relationship with its Eastern partners,
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The European
Union's proposal for an ambitious Eastern Partnership to be established with these countries
serves this objective.

The Eastern Partnership will bring about a significant strengthening of EU policy with regard
to its Eastern partners by seeking to create the necessary conditions for political association
and further economic integration between the European Union and its Eastern partners
through the development of a specific Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood
Policy. To achieve this, the Eastern Partnership seeks to support political and socio-economic
reforms, facilitating approximation and convergence towards the European Union. In the
same vein, the Eastern Partnership will help to build trust and develop closer ties among the
six Eastern partners themselves.

2. Work under the Eastern Partnership will go ahead without prejudice to individual
participating countries' aspirations for their future relationship with the European Union. The
Eastern Partnership will be governed by the principles of joint ownership, differentiation and
conditionality. Shared values including democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human
rights will be at its core, as well as the principles of market economy, sustainable
development and good governance. Increased European Union engagement will be in line
with the main goals of the Eastern Partnership, depending on the progress made by individual
partners. Increased financial support in line with the Commission's proposal of €600m for the
period to 2013 will respect the resources available under the multiannual Financial
Framework, including adequate margins.

3. There will be effective complementarity between the Eastern Partnership and existing
regional initiatives in the EU's neighbourhood, in particular the Black Sea Synergy. The
European Council underlines the EU's commitment to strengthen the Black Sea Synergy and
to support its implementation, noting that its focus is on regional cooperation in the Black Sea
region, whereas the Eastern Partnership focuses on approximation and will strengthen the
links of partner countries with the EU. The Eastern Partnership will also be developed in
parallel with the bilateral cooperation between the EU and third countries.

4. Bilateral cooperation under the Eastern Partnership should provide the foundation for new
Association Agreements between the EU and those partners who have made sufficient
progress towards the principles and values set out in paragraph 2 above and who are willing
and able to comply with the resulting commitments including the establishment, or the
objective of establishing, deep and comprehensive free trade areas. The European Union's
Comprehensive Institution-Building Programmes will help the participating countries to
improve their administrative capacity. The Eastern Partnership will promote mobility of
citizens of partner countries through visa facilitation and readmission agreements. The EU, in
line with the Global Approach to Migration, should also take gradual steps towards full visa
liberalisation as a long term goal for individual partner countries and on a case by case basis
provided that conditions for well-managed and secure mobility are in place. The Eastern
Partnership aims to strengthen the energy security cooperation of all participants with regard
to long-term energy supply and transit, including through better regulation and energy
efficiency. It will put at the disposal of partners the EU's expertise in social and economic
development policies.

5. The multilateral framework of the Eastern Partnership will provide for cooperation activities
and dialogue serving the objectives of the Partnership. It should operate on a basis of joint
decisions of EU member states and Eastern partners, without prejudice to the decision making
autonomy of the EU.

The European Council proposes to hold regular meetings in principle once every two years at
the level of Heads of State or Government of the Eastern Partnership, and once a year at the
level of Foreign Ministers. Four thematic platforms should be established according to the
main areas of cooperation (Democracy, good governance and stability; Economic integration
and convergence with EU policies; Energy security; and Contacts between people). The
European Council also supports the launching of Flagship Initiatives in order to give
momentum and concrete substance to the Partnership. The EU looks forward to an early
discussion with the partners in this regard.

Third countries will be eligible for participation on a case-by-case basis in concrete projects,
activities and meetings of thematic platforms, where it contributes to the objectives of
particular activities and the general objectives of the Eastern Partnership.

6. The Eastern Partnership will engage a wide range of actors, including government ministries
and agencies, parliaments, civil society, international organisations, financial institutions and
the private sector.

7. On the basis of this Declaration, the EU will conduct the necessary consultations with Eastern
partners with a view to preparing a Joint Declaration on the Eastern Partnership to be adopted
at the Eastern Partnership launching summit on 7 May 2009. The European Council looks
forward to launching the Eastern Partnership as a common endeavour with partners, being
confident that this initiative will advance the cause of good governance, increase prosperity
and strengthen stability, bringing lasting and palpable benefits to the citizens of all
participating countries.

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