EURONEST: MEPs to meet with counterparts from Eastern parliaments in Brussels
Common political and security issues with Russia, Turkey, Iran, ways forward for energy cooperation, movement of skilled labour and other topics are to be discussed by MEPs and their counterparts from Eastern Partnership parliaments (Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) in Brussels from 21.-23.March in the EURONEST parliamentary assembly, the first large scale inter-parliamentary gathering of EU and Eastern parliamentarians since the review of the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy.
"The benefits of the parliamentary cooperation with the EU's Eastern partners are beginning to appear when they are carrying out reforms. This applies especially to the three countries with association agreement, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, as the parliaments are in charge of the implementation of the reforms. I am happy to see that the European Commission and the High Representative also see the advances. Euronest can also help bring together the various actors around the Eastern partnership to enhance interaction and deepen the cooperation", said EURONEST co-chair from the European Parliament’s side Heidi Hautala (Greens, FI).
"The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly plays a crucial role in facilitating parliamentary exchanges between our MEPs and parliamentarians of our Eastern partners", said Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn ahead of the meeting. "Increasing stability, resilience and economic development are overarching goals in our relationships with each of our partner countries but for this to happen our partners need to implement what are sometimes very demanding reforms. This requires building trust and support within societies and the adoption of legislation that is needed to underpin reforms. The role of parliaments and parliamentarians, including the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, in this respect is essential", he added.
Agenda highlights and points of interest
- Debate on hybrid threats and disinformation
A special security debate with high level stakeholders on responses to hybrid threats, attacks and disinformation will be held on Wednesday the 23rd March in the morning, to discuss what can the EU and Eastern European Partners could do together to counter and deter aggression.
- Exchange with EU neighbourhood Commissioner Hahn
Debate on the Eastern Partnership after the review of the the EU’s Neighbourhood policy and the role of the Euronest will take place on Wednesday the 23rd March in the morning.
- First meeting of the Euronest Women's Forum
on Tuesday 22 March at 12.30 in room ASP 5H1, with special guests from World Bank Group and EEAS.
- Azerbaijan and Belarus MPs absent
Formally Euronest is constituted by 60 MEPs and 10 MEPs of each of the six countries who are part of the EU’s Eastern partnership. However, only Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova MPs will attend the meeting in Brussels. Azerbaijan MPs in October 2015 formally announced their withdrawal from the Euronest, as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction of criticism by the European Parliament of human rights and democracy situation in the country. Formal withdrawal takes effect one year after its notification.
Belarus was not invited to join the Euronest, as the European Parliament does not recognise its national parliament as having been democratically elected. However, this decision may be reconsidered after next parliamentary elections in Belarus in September this year, depending on their compliance with international standards.
- Meeting with Belarus opposition
Euronest Working Group on Belarus, established as means to “keep the door open to Belarus”, will hold a meeting with Belarus opposition members on Tuesday morning. Behind closed doors, MPs and MEPs will exchange on the political situation in the country and on the forthcoming legislative elections.
Interpretation always provided in RU and EN
Please see here the draft agenda of the EURONEST plenary meeting.