Vaitiekunas calls for closer cooperation in Eastern Europe

  • 2006-08-30
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Foreign Minister Petras Vaitiekunas has suggested a new stage in relations with East European countries like Ukraine, Moldova and countries in the South Caucasus region that were once former republics of the Soviet Union.

Speaking at a The Caspian Perspective 2008, a high-level forum in Slovenia on Aug. 28, Vaitiekunas said, "The strategic interests of the European Union in Eastern Europe are evident. We seek stability, security and cooperation based on common values."
EU member states, both among themselves and with partners in Eastern Europe, should start considering new ways of enhancing relations and seek a consensus on the principles of the EU policy based on the underlying principle that European security is indivisible, the foreign minister said.

Vaitiekunas suggested revising the European neighborhood policy and forming a clearer strategy for Eastern Europe.
"The fact that the EU's eastern neighbors are part of Europe is indisputable. So the European Union policy should provide a clearer definition of Europe's neighbors and European neighbors," said the foreign minister.
He added that integration treaties should serve as a basis for the EU strategy for Eastern Europe. They should determine priorities of relations with Eastern neighbors, provide for intensive political cooperation, EU support for political and economic reforms, instruments aimed at economic integration of Eastern neighbors into the EU, gradual accession to the EU internal market, harmonization of the law and development of human, cultural and other types of relations.

The new policy should also stipulate a more active role for the EU in the promotion of regional cooperation among Eastern European countries, their participation in the solution of matters in international relations, said Vaitiekunas.