Kyiv, 22 December 2021
EaP CSF Ukrainian National Platform statement regarding the assessment of the results of the Eastern Partnership Summit on December 15, 2021
The EaP CSF Ukrainian National Platform welcomes the holding of the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on December 15, 2021. The very meeting of the leaders of the 5 Partner States and European institutions and member states demonstrates the continued political weight of the Eastern Partnership policy for building bilateral relations with the European Union, as well as multilateral cooperation in the region.
The Summit is taking place at a difficult time of significant political and socio-economic transformations in the region. Escalation of hybrid Russian aggression against Ukraine, protracted political crisis in Belarus, and new realities of the post-war situation in Azerbaijani-Armenian relations indicate the need to increase EU attention to the region where the European Neighborhood Policy was designed to bring stability. All this against the backdrop of the ongoing economic crisis in the region, generated by the consequences of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Repeated postponement of the summit by the European Union in 2020-2021 indicates an understanding of the ambiguity of political processes in the countries of the region, a low common denominator at the level of 6 EaP Policy Partners.
Against this background, the results of the summit demonstrate a certain change in approaches and tools of cooperation in the region, which can initiate positive transformations and in-depth cooperation between the EU and partners.
We positively assess the mention in the final joint document of the summit of the EU’s continued commitment to supporting territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders and the sovereignty of all EaP partners. At the same time, the European Union supports the resumption and continuation of efforts for the peaceful settlement of conflicts that continue in the Eastern Partnership region, in accordance with the principles of international law. However, although the document also notes the strengthening of the EU’s role in preventing and resolving conflicts, trying to build trust between their parties, at present it is hardly possible to talk about the effectiveness and efficiency of EU participation in efforts to end or transform international conflicts. Unfortunately, traditionally Russia does not appear in the document as an aggressor and the main force for destabilizing the situation in the Eastern European region.
Ukrainian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum calls on the EU to formulate and implement a more ambitious strategy for participating in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, including those provoked and supported by Russia.
We can also positively assess the EU’s readiness to deepen the application of the principle of “more for more” and “less for less” in reform-oriented cooperation with partner states. Against this background, a historically important event is the recognition by the European Union of the “Associated trio” initiative of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova as an association of partner states with an in-depth agenda for European integration. It is a pity that this mention in the declaration appeared only thanks to increased diplomatic work with individual EU members before and during the summit.
By the next Eastern Partnership Summit, which is tentatively scheduled for 2023, both the EU and partner states should take measures to further deepen cooperation and form effective mechanisms to achieve new Eastern Partnership Priorities by 2025.
the Government of Ukraine:
- In accordance with bilateral commitments, strengthen the implementation of judicial and anti-corruption reforms, which are cornerstones in forming an ambitious agenda with the EU.
- Based on the adopted priorities of the Eastern Partnership until 2025, taking into account bilateral program documents in the relevant areas, the relevant central executive committee should prepare a concept for achieving the goals and the necessary financial instruments and the amount of support from the EU. In this context, it would be advisable to analyze the new financial mechanisms and programs launched by the EU in 2021, in thematic and geographical areas.
- Together with civil society, introduce periodic monitoring of the achievement of new EaP priorities, based on clear measurable indicators, and the achievement of flagship initiatives for Ukraine.
Governments of the Associated trio countries:
- The trio states are now attached to the EU economic and investment plan, which provides opportunities to reformat the algorithm and amount of funding for joint activities under the EaP. It is advisable to prepare a list of priority initiatives in the field of transport and infrastructure projects that may be of general interest and fall under the requirements for financing within the framework of Economic and investment plan of the Eastern Partnership.
- Taking into account the common security challenges, the members of the Associated trio should intensify cooperation with EU institutions in the field of security and defense, as well as develop a coordinated approach to participating in the new strategic initiative “strategic compass”, which is aimed at strengthening the EU’s resilience and solidarity to various external threats.
- The priorities approved during the summit should be clearly implemented by European institutions at the level of medium-term indicative programs and annual plans, with a clear understanding of the amount of resources provided for partners within each of the priorities.