EU and Eastern Partnership countries pledge to strengthen cooperation
At their summit in Brussels on Wednesday 15 December, the EU Member States and the countries in the Eastern Partnership adopted a joint declaration and a revised programme for Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2000. The long-term policy objectives emphasise recovery, resilience and reform. Prime Minister Sanna Marin represented Finland at the summit.
Government Communications Department 15.12.2021
The Eastern Partnership policy programme includes a regional economic investment plan of EUR 2.3 billion, along with several country-specific flagship initiatives. In Finland’s view, it is important for climate issues to play a stronger role in Eastern Partnership policy moving forward. The new policy programme addresses the green and digital transition and includes measures to respond to cyber and hybrid threats.
“Finland stresses that strengthening the rule of law, democracy and good governance, upholding common values, combating corruption, protecting human rights and promoting gender equality are at the core of the partnership. They are also prerequisites for well-functioning economies and sustainable growth,” Prime Minister Marin said in her speech.
Finland believes that supporting the Union’s Eastern Neighbourhood will promote stability, security and wellbeing throughout Europe. The objective of the Eastern Partnership is to create stable, prosperous, democratic and safe societies in the vicinity of the EU. Strengthening relations with the Eastern Partnership countries is also one of the five principles of the EU’s policy on Russia. The summit addressed Russia’s role in the conflicts in the region and, in particular, its actions in Ukraine and at its borders.
Five of the six Eastern Partnership countries attended the summit. Belarus has suspended its participation in the partnership and was not invited. The Belarusian representative’s seat was left empty as a symbolic gesture.
Before the start of the summit, Prime Minister Marin met with Moldovan President Maia Sandu. The Prime Minister and the President discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and EU–Moldova relations. In addition, Prime Minister Marin attended an informal working lunch hosted by the President of Lithuania, which was attended not only by the leaders of several EU countries but also by the presidents of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.