More, more, more: Audronius Azubalis calls for more reforms from partners.
VILNIUS - Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis said at a meeting of EU foreign ministers and the ministers of the six Eastern Partnership countries in Brussels that Eastern Partnership countries must continue implementing reforms, and the European Union should keep on helping them, reports ELTA.
“The transition process is not easy. It requires complex reforms. But the EU is there to help the Eastern European partners. In this case the most important principle is - more for more. The more reforms you will put in place, the greater will be our support,” said the head of Lithuanian diplomacy.
The ministers of the EU and the six Eastern Partnership countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine agreed on a roadmap plan that projects the actions of the EU and Eastern Partnership countries and the measures and the goals that should be achieved by the autumn of 2013 when the third meeting of the EU and Eastern Partnership will be held in Lithuania.
“In all partnerships both sides are equally important. It is impossible to pursue success and to overcome obstacles without mutual trust. The partnership will be retained only if both sides will respect and comply with commitments made to each other,” said Azubalis.
More work ahead
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the European Union should be working with its Eastern Partnership countries, even at a time when the events going on in the European Union’s southern neighborhood are demanding a lot of attention. “Eastern Partnership is in our interest and requires the continued attention and support of the European Union,” the Estonian foreign minister emphasized at the Brussels meeting.
“In Eastern Partnership countries we see progress in making reforms and integrating with the European Union, which deserves to be recognized, as well as troubling political developments. All this demonstrates that there is still much to be done,” he stated.
“We are very pleased with the developments in Moldova and if they continue, at the next Eastern Partnership summit we’ll have a reason to move to the next level, the European Union perspective. It is essential that the countries making more progress are given more opportunities, so that the ‘more for more’ policy is implemented. Therefore we hope for progress in the Moldova visa dialogue,” said Paet.
Paet feels that the Eastern Partners and their integration process also require more public attention. “Greater visibility and the interest of the public are encouraging, so the European Union could think about how to make the Eastern Partnership more visible through public diplomacy,” he stated.
The Estonian foreign minister said that in future efforts, greater attention should be paid to coordinating work between European Union member states and Eastern Partnership states and creating synergy. “The European Union Eastern Partners are priority countries for Estonia’s development cooperation and one way in which we support them is through the Center of Eastern Partnership, which focuses on increasing the administrative capacity of our Eastern Partners,” Paet explained.
“It is also very important to move in the direction of visa facilitation and visa freedom with Eastern Partners, as well as making cooperation in politics and various sectors more effective,” he added.