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Friday 21.09.2018 | Name days: Matīss, Modris, Mariss

New Eastern Partnership solutions to bring fresh breeze to the EU neighbour policy

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Girts Valdis Kristovskis

Latvia Foreign Affairs Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis

In the international Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn, the Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis emphasized the significance of Eastern Partnership, indicating more targeted solutions are necessary for its policy-making in order to promote genuine reforms in these countries, rather than continue «gift distribution».

The Eastern partnership is important Europe’s common identity-strengthening process, vital for its long-term future, stability and security. New solutions in the Eastern partnership might really bring fresh breeze to the EU neighbouring policy, the Foreign Affairs Minister says.

The recent dramatic political processes in North Africa, Middle East and Arab world, which directly affect Europe’s southern countries, have in some places created the wish to review the current thinking and approach to the European neighbour relations policy. It is not possible to agree with this. On the contrary, reforms should be promoted more than ever, in line with the Provision Principle, giving more support for the Eastern Partnership countries most successfully carrying out these reforms, implementing criteria of common values, democracy, justice and free economic zone.

Despite the changes in North Africa require additional EU force concentration to stabilize the situation in the region, the EU must not shift funds from the Eastern Partnership problem-solving to the Southern Europe, Kristovskis pointed out.

All our Eastern and Southern EU neighbours should receive the same treatment; this also applies to the EU financial support reforms. However, the financial assistance should be stimulating. It is necessary to continue supporting countries that clearly see their identity integrated in the common EU area. This creates new challenges and we must look for new solutions in order to talk about substantial reforms, rather than another «gift distribution», believes the Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister.

The Minister approvingly assessed the conducted work over the two years since the Eastern Partnership was launched – negotiations have been started on the Association Agreements with four new Eastern partners, talks with Ukraine have been speeded up, the Action Plan draft on Ukraine and Moldova’s visa-free regime implementation for short trips has been started, a visa regime liberalization agreement has been concluded with Georgia and similar agreements are scheduled with other countries of South Caucasus.

Europe’s identity, as well as confidence in the European values is a sufficient basis for us to give these countries hope of gaining the intended European perspective one day. However, each of the Eastern Partnership countries should be assessed separately. If Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, their leadership and people show willingness to secure reforms for integration in the EU, then such efforts should be supported. The Latvian government will certainly continue to share its EU integration experience, especially since Latvia itself recently joined the EU, clearly seeing and understanding such objectives, Kristovskis notes.

The EU should use all its charm and skilfully apply its soft power to truly penetrate the partner-countries population’s minds and hearts and not disappoint their expectations. Relatively small financial contribution can do wonders in small countries that are close neighbours, Kristovskis asserts.

As reported, on May 14 and 15, after the Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves invitation, the Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis participated in the international Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn. The conference agenda included the current security, energy and economic issues.



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