MEPs want special trust fund for Eastern European partners

EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

Members of different nationalist parties burn flares and wave flags during a so-called 'March of National Pride' in downtown Kiev, Ukraine.

MEPs want special trust fund for Eastern European partners


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The November 2017 Eastern Partnership Summit should pave the way to set up a trust fund for Eastern partners and reward reforms by offering them customs union, MEPs said today.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament passed on Tuesday a resolution with recommendations for the Eastern Partnership.

MEPs welcome the significant progress made since last Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit, held in Riga in 2015. They point out that some Eastern partners have made major reforms and that Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova now benefit from free trade and visa-free regimes with the EU.

For the next Eastern Partnership Summit, Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs recommend:

• setting up a trust fund for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which could focus on private and public investments in social and economic infrastructure,
• creating an “EaP+” model for associated countries that have made substantial progress on EU-related reforms in order to offer them the possibilities of joining the customs union, energy union, digital union or even Schengen area and abolishing mobile roaming tariffs,
• supporting economic reforms aimed at phasing out monopolies, limiting the role of oligarchs, preventing money laundering and tax evasion,
• maintaining collective pressure on Russia to resolve the conflicts in Eastern Ukraine, the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Transnistria, and
• supporting the deployment of an armed Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) police mission in Eastern Ukraine.

Parliament’s co-rapporteur Laima Andrikienė (EPP, LT) said:

“The Eastern Partnership Summit should inject new dynamism, set out a clear political vision and remain relevant for all six Eastern partners, who have differing aspirations. We propose an attractive longer-term ‘EaP+’ model for associated countries that have made substantial progress in implementing reforms.”
Co-rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, DE) added:
“The Eastern Partnership is about more than signing agreements at biannual summits. It is about supporting the EU’s Eastern European partners in implementing important reforms in the areas of democracy, rule of law and fundamental freedoms. We want to see more progress on reforms and better implementation of previously agreed initiatives.”
The resolution on recommendations for the Eastern Partnership was passed by 40 votes to 6, with 1 abstention. The full house is expected to vote on the draft text at its November session in Strasbourg.

The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009 to deepen political and economic ties between the EU and the six Eastern European partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The 5th Eastern Partnership summit will take place in Brussels on 24 November 2017.

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