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Tuesday, 15 December 2020 - Brussels Revised edition

11. Recent developments in the Eastern Partnership (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Elnök asszony. – A következő pont A Bizottság alelnökének/az Unió külügyi és biztonságpolitikai főképviselőjének nyilatkozata: A legfrissebb fejlemények a keleti partnerség országaiban (2020/2883(RSP).


  Josep Borrell Fontelles, Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Madam President, before starting today’s debate, I would like to thank Parliament for its continued support in what has been one of my main personal commitments since I took office, the adoption by the Council of the European Union Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.

I think this is a landmark achievement. It’s a first, strong step forward. It is evident that human rights are at the Union’s core and in our DNA, and it signals the European Union’s strong determination to stand united in their defence. We will surely have the opportunity to discuss it more in detail on a few occasions, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for your support in getting this important initiative through and then I hope that the Member States will be able to use it because, once you have a tool, you have to take it out of the toolbox and use it.

Now let us turn to the recent developments in the Eastern Partnership. The Eastern Partnership was established 11 years ago. Since then, it has consolidated as a useful and relevant framework for the benefit of both the European Union and our eastern neighbours. It has offered closer political associations and economic integration with the European Union. It has also been key in supporting sustainable reform processes, including the rule of law, although I have to say that progress has not been linear and it is very different from one country to another. It has had a tangible impact on people’s lives. I think we should be proud of advancements in mobility, growing trade with the European Union, and improvements in digital and energy cooperation. We have achieved a lot despite the challenges faced by our partners.

The last year and especially these last months have been particularly difficult and have put all of us to the test. We will for a long time be facing the consequences of the pandemic, which has shifted our priorities. Several of our partners have experienced conflicts, fighting and repression, unrest and popular demand for democratic values and reform. You know what I am talking about.

In this time of challenges, the need for cooperation becomes stronger and the partnership with the eastern countries enables us to address these common challenges and provide a platform for dialogue and exchange of best practices. The Eastern Partnership forges an area of shared democracy, prosperity and stability with our neighbours in the East. It must remain at the top of the European Union agenda. It’s in our interest.

Our partners have made demands. For them, the European Union remains the most trusted foreign institution in the region, as our opinion polls show. Strength and resilience is the main objective and core element of the future partnership policy as set out in the joint communication in March. We will work with our partners on five areas of resilience: economic, democratic, environmental, digital and societal.

I think it’s key to empower civil society and independent media to increase accountability, to expose corruption and to enhance critical thinking. There is no hidden agenda behind this approach. We are only guided by the values we believe in – free, open societies based on human rights and the fundamental rights of citizens. Our reflection in the future also encompasses how to make sure that the partnership remains strategic, ambitious, effective and flexible. The partnership is designed to offer flexibility to develop more advanced relations with those who wish to do so, but it also has to remain inclusive and not to leave anyone behind.

We need to stress the great potential of the current bilateral agreements, notably the association agreements and the deep and comprehensive free trade areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

In recent months, we have engaged in a comprehensive dialogue with partner countries, Member States, civil society and a wide range of stakeholders on the future shape of the Eastern Partnership. I think there is a strong consensus that the framework has delivered, and they can be proud of many achievements, but many challenges remain.

The implementation of practical and concrete activities will be the result of this debate and I will conclude after listening to all your observations and remarks. I think it is a very important debate. Our Eastern Partnership is one of the most important things we have to deal with because our stability, security and even economic prosperity depend closely on how these countries are performing.

So thank you for this opportunity. I am looking forward to listening to your remarks.


  Andrius Kubilius, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, the European Union has a huge transformative power to influence in a positive way developments towards democracy, stability and prosperity in its neighbourhood. This is the EU enlargement and integration promise. That is what we in the Baltic States faced 20 years ago, and we are grateful. Now it is time for the Western Balkans.

The Eastern Partnership countries deserve the same, maybe a little bit later. It’s a pity that from the EU side we are still not able to promise a more clear vision of Eastern Partnership integration, and that creates unnecessary frustrations and a loss of hopes and dreams in those countries. But what we can do is to show where, in which place, the Eastern Partnership countries are on their road towards integration. Let’s start to produce regular evaluation and benchmarking reports; let’s compare not only the Eastern Partnership countries among themselves, let’s compare Eastern Partnership and Western Balkan countries on their path towards integration.

Comparison will bring a sense of progress and perspective and also dynamism of competition. That is what is very much needed for the Eastern Partnership region.


  Tonino Picula, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, High Representative, it’s a really good moment to discuss this topic today, with the next Eastern Partnership summit planned to take place in spring next year. As the objective of this summit is to agree on new common objectives, I wish to particularly emphasise two aspects of utmost importance: violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights as well as conflict settlement. Here we primarily speak about unacceptable events in Belarus connected to the latest presidential elections. I’m very happy that tomorrow this House will present the Sakharov Prize to the democratic opposition of Belarus. It’s important to maintain the Eastern Partnership as the framework to increase bilateral and multilateral cooperation and create positive spillover effects among the countries. At the same time, I believe we need a more determined approach towards violations of the joint commitments and the principles and values of this partnership. Regarding the latest context in Nagorno Karabakh, we have to play a more active role in the post-conflict environment. The European Union should not be excluded for settlements of conflicts in its neighbourhood.

In the context of the ongoing discussions of so-called strategic autonomy, what we need is more strategic responsibility. The European Union must take responsibility for the promise of security and prosperity in the common neighbourhood which constitutes the basis of the Eastern Partnership too.


  Urmas Paet, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, the last few months in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood has seen some of the most serious political and military crises.

Belarus is in turmoil for the fifth month now. There is an intensifying crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, arrests and torture. In this situation, the EU must halt all cooperation with the government and redirect assistance to the opposition and civil society until new and legitimate elections take place in Belarus.

Another sudden explosion of a fully-fledged military conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region took the EU by surprise. Fortunately, a ceasefire has been brokered, but the EU’s role was very limited.

Whereas Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia appear to be more stable, it is noteworthy that they went through a complex electoral season, and while the process appears to have been reasonably well managed in Ukraine and Moldova, the aftermath of the parliamentary elections in Georgia is, of course, of serious concern. The political parties in Georgia should resume dialogue with the aim of reaching an agreement, so that all members of parliament would work in the parliament and adopt electoral and judicial reforms in the interest of Georgian citizens and EU-Georgia relations.

The aim of the Eastern Partnership is to work towards achieving political association and economic integration to promote well-being. We need to rethink our approach to conflict resolution, enhancing civil protection, promotion of international law principles and countering hybrid threats. In light of this year’s developments, the Eastern Partnership needs to be re-examined to ensure its efficiency in the future.


  Thierry Mariani, au nom du groupe ID. – Madame la Présidente, Monsieur Borrell, si j’étais superstitieux, je finirais par croire que le Partenariat oriental porte malheur. Fondé en 2020, à la suite d’événements en Géorgie dont les plaies ne sont toujours pas cicatrisées, le Partenariat oriental va de déception en déception. De l’implosion de l’Ukraine en 2014 en passant par le douloureux affrontement entre l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan ces dernières semaines, le moins qu’on puisse dire est que le Partenariat oriental, pour le moment, n’a pas abouti à la paix.

C’est même la certitude pour les pays qui en sont membres de voir de plus en plus d’ingérence de l’Union européenne dans leurs affaires. En Moldavie, on s’aperçoit que, finalement, les accords de subvention dépendent par moments du résultat des élections. Au Bélarus, l’Union européenne a décidé de passer à la vitesse supérieure et, à entendre certains de nos collègues, un sondage sur internet suffit désormais pour choisir qui a gagné les élections présidentielles.

Mais je pense que cela n’a en réalité aucune importance. Quand on se satisfait d’avoir une politique étrangère qui applique des sanctions, j’ai envie de vous demander, Monsieur le Haut représentant: quel a été le résultat de ces sanctions? Depuis 2014, la Russie est sous sanctions. Désormais, c’est le Bélarus. Sérieusement, est-ce que l’un d’entre nous pense que ça va les faire changer d’avis? La réponse est non. On n’a jamais vu des sanctions faire plier un pays.

Est-ce qu’il n’est pas temps d’avoir un autre dialogue? Car je pense que, au sein de l’Union européenne, toutes nos nations sont égales, mais certaines consentent des efforts financiers et humains pour maintenir une politique étrangère et militaire indépendante. D’autres, visiblement, ont décidé de suivre les consignes de l’OTAN. À ce titre, entendre des personnalités éminentes de la CDU allemande refuser l’idée même d’une autonomie stratégique vis-à-vis de l’OTAN donne une véritable image de la réalité.

Voilà pourquoi nous ne pouvons nous satisfaire de ce Partenariat oriental qui, pour nous, en réalité, est certes un instrument pour distribuer des aides dans ces pays, mais qui malheureusement, depuis dix ans, n’a abouti à aucun résultat véritablement concret.


  Markéta Gregorová, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, the year 2020 has been turbulent for our eastern partners, and the Eastern Partnership has become more unstable than ever.

We have had Belarus cracking down on peacefully-protesting citizens, increasing polarisation in Moldova, a democratic backslide in Georgia, Ukraine’s constitutional crisis, and the revived war in Nagorno Karabakh – Armenia and Azerbaijan blaming each other for the ceasefires and attacking civilians. The status quo kept for years brought the violence again, which is never a way for peace. There is a need for serious debate about the future.

Nevertheless, regarding the issues in the Eastern Partnership, I am more disappointed in the EU’s approach and so-called common foreign and security policy.

We have 27 foreign and security policies, and it shows in our incapability of doing more than these hearings and occasional sanctions. We must have a more substantial, better—united foreign and security policy that will stand behind human rights. Without it, we might just start to call ourselves the European Economy Community again.


  Witold Jan Waszczykowski, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Pani Przewodnicząca! Mija rok geopolitycznej Komisji, pracy niestety bez sukcesów. Nie ma nas w konflikcie libijskim, nie ma nas w konflikcie syryjskim. W Zatoce Perskiej postęp nastąpił w wyniku działań Izraela i Stanów Zjednoczonych, ale nie udziału Unii Europejskiej.

Czy byliśmy zatem bardziej aktywni wobec partnerów Partnerstwa Wschodniego? Też nie. W konflikcie ormiańsko-azerskim nie zaistnieliśmy. Tam kwestię przywrócenia pokoju przyjęły na siebie Rosja i Turcja. W Mołdawii nastąpiły pozytywne zmiany, ale też nie pod flagą Unii Europejskiej. Na Ukrainie coraz bardziej liczą na wsparcie NATO, a nie Unii Europejskiej. Białoruś walczy o demokrację pod swoim narodowym sztandarem, ale nie pod sztandarami Unii Europejskiej. Unia Europejska nie staje się więc magnesem przyciągającym.

Czy będzie więc Partnerstwo Wschodnie nadal wieczną poczekalnią, czy będzie ewoluować? Czy zaoferujemy sektorową współpracę? Czy odważymy się wreszcie postawić kwestię członkostwa? Czy będziemy więc mnożyć warunki współpracy, których nawet nasi członkowie czasem nie spełniają?


  Helmut Scholz, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Hoher Vertreter! Am Ende des Pandemiejahres Bilanz zu ziehen, fällt schwer. Die Transformationen der Gesellschaften sind nicht abgeschlossen, und die innen- und außenpolitischen Herausforderungen sind gewaltig. Der Waffenstillstand zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan bleibt fragil. In Georgien scheint eine Beilegung der ethnopolitischen Konflikte durch die Interessen Russlands sowie die inkonsistente Politik der EU mehr als schwierig. In Belarus gibt es trotz großer und mutiger Demonstrationen der Menschen nach wie vor keine Entspannung der Lage.

Die europäische Nachbarschaftspolitik ist zweifellos komplex, aber es zeichnet sich klar ab: Unsere Unterstützung der demokratischen, sozialen und wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung dieser Länder darf diese nicht vor konfrontative Entwicklungen stellen. Vielmehr muss ihnen diese Partnerschaft Dialog und Zusammenarbeit sowohl mit der EU als auch mit der Russischen Föderation erlauben.

Ermutigend sind hier die klaren Äußerungen und Planungen der neu gewählten Präsidentin der Republik Moldau. Maia Sandu hat ein umfangreiches politisches und soziales Programm mit konsequenter Ausrichtung auf Rechtsstaatlichkeit, Korruptionsbekämpfung und Demokratisierung vorgestellt. Helfen wir ihr durch Vorbildwirkung in allen 27 Mitgliedstaaten.


  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, nella storia del partenariato orientale e specialmente per i popoli del Caucaso meridionale non è inopportuno ricordare le enormi sofferenze a causa della violenza politica, caro Alto rappresentante.

I nostri programmi hanno contribuito al benessere e alla crescita di questa società con l'intento principale di fermare questa spirale. L'attualità ci dimostra però che questi progressi sono purtroppo reversibili e che l'unico modo per difenderli e portare prosperità alla società è un modo ovviamente pacifico.

I recenti sviluppi in Nagorno-Karabakh, la violenta repressione di Lukashenka in Bielorussia e la difficoltà operativa dell'UE di fronte al loro dispiegarsi sono un segnale evidente del fatto che l'Unione deve ripensare gli strumenti del programma di partenariato orientale.

In Nagorno-Karabakh il conflitto è stato nuovamente congelato da una tregua utile alle potenze egemoni del Caucaso – la Russia e la Turchia – per consolidare la nuova influenza, ma foriera di ulteriori cicatrici e ferite tra Baku ed Erevan. Risolvere questa controversia, risolvere la transizione democratica in Bielorussia è uno sforzo importante, richiederà un'Europa che possa svolgere al meglio il suo ruolo di mediatore e di campione del dialogo e del multilateralismo. Unanime deve essere la nostra volontà, non certo il funzionamento dei nostri strumenti.


  Andrea Bocskor (PPE). – Madam President, dear colleagues, I never believed it could happen that, due to my parliamentary activities because I try to protect the rights of the Hungarian minority living in Ukraine, I have been included on a so-called death list of the Myrotvorets website as an enemy of Ukraine. However, it happened, and the problem is even more serious, as it is not just me who is attacked because of raising a voice for the protection of the Hungarian community, but the community itself faces constant political pressure, attacks and intimidation. I often stress that there is a huge problem with the respect for fundamental minority rights in Ukraine, especially how the Hungarian community is treated.

In November there were several cases of hate speech against the Hungarians; then, armed commando units of the Security Service of Ukraine delivered a coordinated attack against the Office of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians and the home of its leader and a charity. The harsh actions were based on fabricated accusations to restrict the operation of these organisations and to intimidate the Hungarian minority. Honourable High Representative, I would like to ask you to take concrete steps and call on Ukraine to close down the Myrotvorets website and to ensure the protection of the Hungarians living in Ukraine and persons who stand up for human and minority rights.


  Marina Kaljurand (S&D). – Madam President, I should like to say to the High Representative that it’s very symbolic that we are discussing the Eastern Partnership today, on the eve of awarding the 2020 Sakharov Prize to the democratic opposition of Belarus.

2020 was a difficult year. Our eastern partners faced serious and unforeseeable challenges. Therefore, today more than ever, they expect – and rightly so – political commitment and resolute actions supporting their democratic processes. Eastern Partnership policy has not failed, but it needs reinforcement.

As the Chair of the Delegation for Relations with South Caucasus, I have had regular contact with my partners and colleagues, but I also know how important it is to talk to people, civil society and human rights activists. Today, I discussed the human rights situation in Nagorno—Karabakh and, more widely, in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, with the women’s rights organisation Kvinna Till Kvinna (‘Woman to Woman’). As this is most probably my last intervention this year, I would like to conclude with what they said to us parliamentarians: ‘do not forget ordinary people, especially minorities, when taking political decisions’.


  Hilde Vautmans (Renew). – Madam President, first of all I would like to thank Mr Borrell very much for the human rights sanction mechanism. Finally, I should say.

The stability of our neighbourhood is key for our security, so we need a strong Eastern Partnership. We all agree on that. But how do we get there, that’s the fundamental question. What the situation in Nagorno Karabakh and Belarus have in common is the inability of the EU to have a meaningful influence. It’s not just that we are too slow or too divided. No, we just don’t have any political clout. Geopolitical ambitions, yes, but power, no.

And so we continue our financial support, yet at the same time we leave the fate of the region in the hands of Putin. Putin’s troops are in Nagorno Karabakh, his military advisers and media experts in Belarus. And where are we? The EU needs to take a more proactive, direct and leading role. But most importantly, if we want our eastern neighbourhood policy to succeed, we need, Mr Borrell, to complement it with a new, more effective EU-Russia strategy. Time to make work of it.


  Bernhard Zimniok (ID). – Frau Präsidentin, werte Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Die Östliche Partnerschaft besteht seit über zehn Jahren. Über 1,3 Milliarden EUR sind bis dato in die Stabilisierung der staatlichen Institutionen geflossen, damit sich diese dem Standard der EU annähern. Von einigen kleinen Erfolgen abgesehen, ist die Bilanz allerdings ziemlich ernüchternd.

Nehmen wir das Beispiel Ukraine: Bereits im November 2019 habe ich hier im Plenum auf das nach wie vor von Korruption und Sowjetstrukturen durchzogene System aufmerksam gemacht. So hat die Ukraine das Haager Kindesentführungsübereinkommen zwar unterschrieben, aber niemals umgesetzt. Von einem Elternteil in die Ukraine entführte Kinder werden nach wie vor dort festgehalten, die Täter von den Behörden gedeckt und Gerichtsentscheidungen ignoriert. Ein von mir angefragtes und auch zugesagtes Gespräch mit dem Botschafter der Ukraine zu dieser Thematik kam nie zustande. Die EU muss ihre Unterstützung endlich auch an Konditionen knüpfen. Das heißt in diesem Falle: keine Umsetzung des HKÜ – keine Subventionen oder Visafreiheit!


  Viola Von Cramon-Taubadel (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, this year has been extremely intense everywhere, particularly in the Eastern Partnership region. Besides fighting the pandemic, the Eastern Partnership countries also had to deal with many other challenges. Moldova managed to elect a pro-European President. Ukraine conducted successful local elections only to backslide on fighting corruption and other crucial reforms on rule of law. Georgia, unfortunately, trapped itself in a dangerous political crisis. Therefore, we urge all political parties to resume the dialogue in order to uphold the national interest.

However, nowhere has the year been as violent as in Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The EU continues supporting the people of Belarus and their democratic government in fighting against terror until freedom and justice will prevail.

Dear fellow Europeans and our neighbours in Belarus, we stand with you until the very victory. The Sakharov Prize to the democratic opposition is one of the most visible signs of solidarity from this House in order to honour your striving for freedom. In Azerbaijan and Armenia, the EU should realise its vital role for bringing peace, engage actively in reconstruction of the region, and make sure that the reconciliation leads to prosperity for both countries.


  Charlie Weimers (ECR). – Madam President, Azeri soldiers beheaded two Armenian civilians while they were alive: Genadi Petrosyan and Yuri Asryan. They tortured Armenian civilians and prisoners of war; desecrated corpses, churches and tombstones. While Turkish and Azeri troops marched victoriously through Baku, Turkey’s aspiring Sultan, President Erdogan, revered the souls that committed the Armenian genocide – the Islamic Army of the Caucasus. Armenia’s capital and several provinces were declared Azeri historical land by Azerbaijan’s dictator, President Aliyev.

Azerbaijan, ladies and gentlemen, is an EU Eastern Partnership country, which means we shower them with EU funds. That needs to stop. Instead we need sanctions against Azerbaijan and Turkey for their neo-Ottoman war of aggression.


  Dorien Rookmaker (NI). – Madam President, the Eastern Partnership aims at bringing peace at our eastern borders but to countries which have neither the ability nor the will to adopt western values, and the EU does not have the power to impose values or political views. If you take on responsibilities without having the authority and power to act, you are heading for failure. The actions of the European Union in the Eastern Partnership countries, especially the injection of funds, may in fact lead to instability, because it provokes people to fight among each other over funds. Ten years of partnership has not led to stability at all and that’s terrible.

Money can be a solution but it often is a cause of problems. The 72 million people who live in the Eastern Partnership countries will receive EUR 1 billion to soften the coronavirus crisis. This is almost EUR 14 per person. Will this really help, or will it create new problems? Let’s stop this nonsense and start dealing with our neighbours in a mature and respectful manner. Stop sending money for nothing, which only destabilises the countries and enhances corruption.


  Traian Băsescu (PPE). – Doamnă președintă, domnule Înalt Reprezentant, cinci state din cele șase aflate în Parteneriatul estic au conflicte mai mult sau mai puțin înghețate și trupe ale Federației Ruse pe propriul teritoriu.

Ineficiența formelor internaționale de negociere a dat timp separatiștilor să-și consolideze statalitatea ilegală, iar Federației Ruse timp să-și consolideze prezența militară la frontierele Uniunii Europene și NATO. Privind harta regiunii, constatăm că Federația Rusă a creat prin conflicte înghețate un arc de resurse militare ofensive în jurul Mării Negre.

Visăm la autonomie strategică, dar tolerăm agresivitatea Rusiei la frontierele noastre. Parteneriatul estic nu va da roadele scontate, dacă nu vom face trei lucruri:

1. prin acțiune diplomatică, să dobândim dreptul legitim de a fi parte la toate formatele de negociere a conflictelor înghețate;

2. consolidarea militară a flancului estic prin dislocarea de trupe ale Uniunii Europene la frontiera estică și

3. un parteneriat solid cu NATO pentru redobândirea echilibrului militar la Marea Neagră. Aceste lucruri vor asigura stabilitate țărilor din Parteneriatul estic.


  Robert Hajšel (S&D). – Madam President, we need a coherent approach towards Eastern Partnership countries that violate joint commitments. We all know that these things are not going well.

Let me mention only the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, about which we have to very concerned. The ceasefire brokered by the Russians in November sent a positive signal, but lasting peace, including agreement on the status of the region, still needs to be negotiated. Both sides in the conflict recently accused each other of ceasefire violations, but there are also many human rights violations. For example, you need only take the mistreatment of the Armenian troops captured during the conflict. We have to call for the immediate release of all the detainees.

I have to say that I’m afraid that it’s not enough for the European Union only to follow the situation and to support the Minsk Group. The EU must take the responsibility and contribute more actively to long—term conflict settlement in the Eastern Neighbourhood. The role of Turkey and its support of one of the sides in the conflict creates a serious threat that may ultimately be counterproductive to long-term peace in the region.


  Petras Auštrevičius (Renew). – Madam President, frankly speaking, I miss the EU’s geopolitical ambition, strong determination and full engagement in the Eastern Partnership. Renewed military conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, its devastating outcomes and the ceasefire agreement confirms the fact of a reduced EU geopolitical presence in the South Caucasus. Neither the European Union nor its Member States were a part in reaching the political solution. The mere fact that the conflict involved two participants of the EU’s Eastern Partnership Initiative demonstrates the shortcomings of our foreign and security policy. We lacked the timely political initiative, necessary tools and strategic vision.

Election of the pro-European President Maia Sandu in Moldova is a long-awaited event that returns hopes about implementation of most needed reforms. Her promise to fight against corruption and free the state from oligarchic rule needs to be reinforced with EU support. Moldova received a historic opportunity and it would be too disastrous not to seize it.

Awakening of the civil society in Belarus, its desire to democratise the state and start the reform process places even higher expectations on the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy. Let’s be vigorous and strong in supporting Belarusian democratic opposition.


  Jordan Bardella (ID). – Madame la Présidente, l’Union européenne espérait en 2009 que ce Partenariat oriental, qui comprend notamment l’Azerbaïdjan, permette l’établissement des valeurs communes que sont la démocratie, l’état de droit et le respect des droits de l’homme. Ce cercle d’amis, comme le souhaitait l’ancien président de la Commission Romano Prodi, devait voir le jour grâce aux vertus miraculeuses du libre- échange.

Aujourd’hui, l’Azerbaïdjan et son président occupent par la force un territoire que l’histoire a voulu arménien, et chaque jour qui passe apporte son lot de massacres, de pillages commis par les troupes et miliciens azéris. Le président turc Erdoğan, conquérant et belliqueux, peut affirmer sans honte que la lutte historique de l’Azerbaïdjan contre l’Arménie n’est pas terminée.

Il est temps, Madame, de suspendre au plus vite la totalité des avantages accordés à l’Azerbaïdjan dans le cadre de notre politique étrangère, à commencer par l’accord de facilitation en matière de délivrance de visas. Si l’Europe est tant préoccupée par ses intérêts gaziers, raison pour laquelle elle refuse de hausser le ton, qu’elle défende donc courageusement ses États membres en Méditerranée orientale face aux agressions répétées de la Turquie.


  Željana Zovko (PPE). – Madam President, recent developments in Eastern Partnership countries call for a strategic European policy towards the region. We can see that the political scenes remain highly volatile. We must take into account the drafting of new objectives post 2020. The initiative that offered full cooperation to the Eastern Partnership countries has advantages. However, we must put our common security and the security of our citizens in these countries higher on our agenda. Breaking a ceasefire in the brokered peace in Nagorno-Karabakh is one of these security concerns.

I call on the European Union to closely monitor the implementation of the peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Humanitarian assistance should reach those in need and citizens should be able to return peacefully to their homes. We also have to ensure the protection and preservation of cultural and religious heritage sites in Nagorno-Karabakh. Since the ceasefire, both Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of breaching the agreement. We must look for a means, in close cooperation with the co—chairs of the Minsk Group, to find a role for the European Union to broker a permanent ceasefire in this troubled area.


  Kati Piri (S&D). – Madam President, we have always been committed to our neighbours in the East, but one thing must be very clear: our commitment is to the people, and wherever a dictator actively steals elections, throws peaceful demonstrators in jail and even tortures his own citizens, whether this is in Belarus or Azerbaijan, our relations should be with the people alone. Tomorrow we are awarding the Sakharov Prize to the female-led Democratic opposition of Belarus, and it is with them that our relations must be. Strong words are not enough. The Belarusians have been protesting for four months now, and Lukashenko is still there with the support of Moscow. More than 32 000 people have been detained. There are more than 4 500 serious allegations of torture and several people who have been killed or disappeared. We can’t simply look away and allow this to continue. The people of Belarus rightfully expect firm action. We have to seriously step up the sanctions to include all state companies and oligarchs, who are the lifeline of an illegitimate dictator, to hurt those who repress and torture peaceful demonstrators and finance Lukashenko, and at the same time, of course, step up all technical, financial and political support to the Belarusian people. We will not rest until all political prisoners are freed, perpetrators brought to justice, and free and fair elections are held. It is the right of the people of Belarus and the whole Eastern Partnership to decide on their own future and direction, and we will always defend that right.


  Radosław Sikorski (PPE). – Pani Przewodnicząca! Mówię o Partnerstwie Wschodnim jako poseł z kraju, który ponad 10 lat temu zaproponował ten program całej Unii Europejskiej. Jak powiedzieli moi przedmówcy, obraz sytuacji w krajach partnerskich jest mieszany. Mamy wojnę, zamrożone konflikty, represje, korupcję, ale mamy też walkę o wolność, rozwój handlu i triumfy demokracji. Temperatura debaty o Partnerstwie Wschodnim w tej Izbie pokazuje, że stał się on kluczowym elementem naszej polityki sąsiedztwa i polityki zagranicznej.

Panie Wysoki Przedstawicielu, wiem, jak trudno jest wpływać na wydarzenia w innych krajach, ale chcę Panu powiedzieć, że te wszystkie głosy są głosami poparcia i troski, a to, że ludność najpierw Ukrainy, potem Białorusi, a teraz Mołdawii pokazuje swoje aspiracje europejskie, to wielkie zwycięstwo Partnerstwa Wschodniego. Proszę nie ustawać w swoich wysiłkach, a ja mam tylko nadzieję, że państwa członkowskie będą lojalnie wspierać wspólnie ustaloną politykę.


  Josep Borrell Fontelles, vicepresidente de la Comisión / alto representante de la Unión para Asuntos Exteriores y Política de Seguridad. – Señor presidente, muchas gracias a todos ustedes por sus contribuciones; las he apreciado, en particular la última, la del señor Sikorski, que ha hecho un resumen del panorama. Ciertamente, problemas no faltan. Tenemos guerras, tenemos dictaduras, tenemos elecciones robadas, tenemos situaciones de profunda inestabilidad, tenemos corrupciones que no acabamos o no acaban —porque son ellos quienes lo tienen que hacer—, no acaban de erradicar. No digo yo que la situación sea especialmente positiva —y ustedes lo saben—, pero seguramente sería peor sin esta Asociación.

Escuchando a algunos de ustedes, he creído tener la impresión de que, para algunos, si usted no es capaz de poner tropas en el terreno, entonces su acción no vale nada. Bueno, pues siento decírselo, por si acaso no lo saben: la Unión Europea no va a poner tropas en el terreno. No vamos a ser como Turquía; según ustedes han dicho, ha habido un apoyo o una intervención militar. ¿Me están sugiriendo que haga lo mismo? Cuando piden una acción más fuerte, más decidida, más enérgica, ¿qué quieren ustedes decir? No, no vamos a intervenir militarmente. Más vale que lo sepan y que no le pidan peras al manzano. Podemos hacer lo que podemos hacer y lo estamos haciendo. No somos una alianza militar.

Nosotros trabajamos desde los ámbitos de la cooperación, de la diplomacia, del apoyo a la sociedad civil con nuestros recursos financieros. Es posible que podamos y debamos tomar medidas utilizando los instrumentos que tenemos en los campos comercial y económico. Pero permítanme recordarles que invertimos muchísimo dinero en esta Asociación. No voy a hacerles un recital aquí de todas las cifras. Algunos de ustedes las han citado. Ucrania, por ejemplo, es el país que más ayuda recibe de la Unión Europea. Con la COVID-19 hemos acelerado y aumentado nuestro apoyo financiero.

Sí, ya sé que ha habido una guerra entre Azerbaiyán y Armenia. ¿Y qué hemos hecho para impedirla? Pues las tareas que dan la diplomacia y los recursos financieros. No tenemos otros. No tenemos otros; por favor, pongan ustedes los pies en el suelo.

Mañana y pasado mañana tendremos los acuerdos de las reuniones de los Consejos de Asociación con Armenia y con Azerbaiyán. Y naturalmente que plantearemos los problemas que ustedes, con buen juicio y razón, han planteado aquí, de los abusos que se han cometido en esta guerra. Y seguiremos comprometiéndonos en un apoyo con los medios de los que disponemos para la resolución pacífica de los conflictos, para seguir luchando contra las malas prácticas de gobierno, el respeto a los derechos humanos, la libertad, el progreso y todo lo que está en nuestros objetivos.

No se crean que podemos resolver los problemas de estos países en diez años, que son los que la Asociación Oriental tiene de edad. Pero tampoco podemos minusvalorar lo que hemos hecho. Tampoco podemos ser tan negativos. La situación sería mucho peor si la Unión Europea no hubiera sido un socio activo y comprometido y financiador de las transformaciones políticas y económicas en estos países.

Nuestro apoyo a Ucrania ha sido fundamental. Y nuestro planteamiento frente a lo que ha pasado en Bielorrusia es fundamental para apoyar a los demócratas en Bielorrusia.

Sí, quiero recoger las quejas relativas a la situación de la minoría húngara en Ucrania, por supuesto. Revelar datos personales en este sitio web Myrotvorets es completamente inaceptable y ya hemos pedido que se retire este contenido y estamos en contacto con nuestras contrapartes en este terreno. Desde luego, hemos estado hablando con las autoridades de Ucrania y con Hungría para resolver sus desacuerdos rápidamente, de una forma constructiva y con el respeto a las minorías. Conocemos e intervenimos como podemos para defender la situación de las minorías y, en particular, la situación de la minoría húngara.

Señorías, sus críticas son muy estimulantes y les aseguro que ya me gustaría a mí tener varitas mágicas para resolver los problemas que ustedes plantean. No las tengo. Lo que tengo son los recursos financieros y diplomáticos de la Unión. Los utilizamos con toda nuestra energía y capacidad. Y espero que con su apoyo; mejor dicho, seguro que contando con su apoyo.

Tenemos que seguir insistiendo. Esta no es una tarea fácil. La situación de estos países, después de la descomposición de la Unión Soviética, difícilmente podía imaginarse que se iba a resolver en diez años. Hemos de seguir prestándoles un apoyo comprometido, pero no podemos pretender actuar como hacen otros. Les reprochamos que lo hagan, pero no vamos a imitarles. Ni podemos, ni queremos.


  Elnök asszony. – A vitát lezárom.

Írásos nyilatkozatok (171. cikk)


  Carmen Avram (S&D), în scris. – Situația din Belarus continuă să fie dramatică. În pofida eforturilor Uniunii Europene și ale altor factori politici implicați, președintele Aleksander Lukașenko continuă represiunea la adresa protestatarilor și există temerea în rândul populației că, în disperare de cauză, dictatorul belarus va permite Rusiei să se implice activ.

Situația rămâne extrem de tensionată și în Nagorno-Karabah, acolo unde regimul azer este acuzat că nu respectă armistițiul, iar eforturile umanitare sunt împiedicate. UE va trebui, deci, să-și reconsidere abordarea în regiune, pentru a nu mai permite guvernelor implicate în conflicte deschise să violeze principiile și valorile comune ale acestui parteneriat. De asemenea, trebuie să ne respectăm promisiunea și, prin urmare, UE trebuie să se implice mai activ în găsirea unor soluții de pace, stabilitate și siguranță pe termen lung.


  Kinga Gál (PPE), írásban. – Ukrajnában ma a kárpátaljai magyarság rendszerszintű megfélemlítése zajlik: a napokban a szeparatizmus nyilvánvalóan koholt vádja alapján az ukrán nemzetbiztonság fegyveres kommandói szállták meg a kárpátaljai magyar szervezeteket, beleértve a magyarság etnikai képviseletét ellátó Kárpátaljai Magyar Kulturális Szövetség (KMKSZ) intézményeit, valamint a szövetség elnökének –Brenzovics Lászlónak – otthonát is. A hétvégén pedig európai parlamenti képviselő kollégánk – Bocskor Andrea – került fel az „Ukrajna ellenségeit” listázó szélsőséges jobboldali csoportosulás, a Mirotvorec listájára, ezáltal élete is veszélybe kerülhet. A jogsértések sora nagyon hosszú, mindezek csak a legújabb epizódjai egy hosszan tartó magyar-kisebbségellenes politikának, amelynek célja az ukrajnai magyar szervezetek tevékenységének ellehetetlenítésén túl a kárpátaljai magyarságnak, valamint vezetőinek a megfélemlítése.

A nemzeti kisebbségek ilyen mértékű megfélemlítése bárhol a világon elfogadhatatlan, de mindez sokkal súlyosabb, ha az a keleti partnerség egyik NATO és Európai Unióhoz közeledni kívánó országában zajlik. Az emberi jogok része a kisebbségi jog, ahogyan ezt mindenhol a világon számon kéri az Európai Unió, úgy Ukrajnán is számon kellene kérnie, nem pedig szemet hunynia a súlyos jogsértések felett – geopolitikai okok miatt. Az ukrajnai magyarok ellen zajló politikai nyomásgyakorlás és megfélemlítés elfogadhatatlan módszer, amelyek különösen Európának ezen a részén rossz emlékeket idéznek, és félelmet gerjesztenek, ezért határozott állásfoglalásra és szankciók kilátásba helyezésére van szükség.


  Elżbieta Kruk (ECR), na piśmie. – Wschodnia polityka zagraniczna Unii Europejskiej realizowana w ramach polityki sąsiedztwa, czyli Partnerstwo Wschodnie, ma pogłębiać więzi polityczne i integrację gospodarczą z Armenią, Azerbejdżanem, Białorusią, Gruzją, Mołdawią i Ukrainą.

Dziś jej formuła, która powstała w latach 2008–2009, wymaga aktualizacji. Ostatnie wydarzenia w regionie – zwłaszcza na Białorusi i Kaukazie Płd. – stwarzają nowe wyzwania. Pokazują jednocześnie konieczność utrzymania strategicznego znaczenia europejskiej polityki sąsiedztwa, szczególnie w kontekście agresywnej polityki rosyjskiej w tym regionie.

Warto przypomnieć, że kiedy powstawał program Partnerstwa Wschodniego, Rosja otrzymała propozycję współpracy, z której nie skorzystała. Nie tylko jednak Rosja, ale też szereg innych sił chciałoby, aby UE nie zajmowała się tematyką wschodnią.

Oceniając program historycznie, można go częściowo krytykować, nie odniósł bowiem zbyt wielu sukcesów, być może dlatego, że miał za mało pieniędzy. Pozytywy to umowy stowarzyszeniowe z Gruzją, Mołdawią i Ukrainą.

W tym kontekście warto wspomnieć nową inicjatywę regionalną, tzw. Trójkąt Lubelski, służącą pogłębionej współpracy pomiędzy Ukrainą, Polską i Litwą. To pomysł na format politycznej współpracy krajów unijnych oraz krajów nieunijnych, ale należących do Partnerstwa Wschodniego. Chciałoby się, aby był to czworokąt włączający Białoruś, bowiem nie możemy sobie pozwolić na rezygnację ze współpracy z Mińskiem.


  Janina Ochojska (PPE), na piśmie. – Program Partnerstwa Wschodniego, który zakłada zacieśnienie współpracy politycznej i większą integrację gospodarczą z 6 krajami partnerskimi Europy Wschodniej i Zakaukazia, działa między innymi dzięki staraniom polskiego rządu od 2009 roku. W tym czasie niektóre kraje partnerskie rozpoczęły wdrażanie procesu reform wewnętrznych i ustrojowych.

Ukraina wyraźnie obrała kierunek proeuropejski, a ze względu na niepodpisanie umowy stowarzyszeniowej z UE przez ówczesnego prezydenta Janukowycza rozpoczęły się liczne protesty, które doprowadziły do powstania Euromajdanu. Kilka miesięcy później rosyjska agresja doprowadziła najpierw do aneksji Krymu, a potem – poprzez regularne wspieranie separatystów – do wybuchu wojny w Donbasie. Od sierpnia br. w związku ze sfałszowaniem wyników wyborów prezydenckich na Białorusi w pokojowych demonstracjach nieprzerwanie, pomimo licznych form represji, jakim są poddawani, biorą udział tysiące Białorusinów, którzy pragną zmienić kierunek swojego kraju na demokratyczny. Z kolei 27 września br. w Górskim Karabachu wybuchł na nowo zamrożony od kilku lat konflikt zbrojny pomiędzy Armenią i Azerbejdżanem.

To tylko niektóre z przytoczonych problemów, z jakimi zmagają się kraje partnerskie. Wierzę, że dalsze zaangażowanie UE może być bardziej efektowne i skuteczniejsze, a działania ukierunkowane na współpracę i dialog mogą przynieść lepsze efekty. Należy kontynuować działania mające na celu wsparcie tych państw w różnych obszarach, szczególnie teraz, w kontekście trwającej pandemii COVID-19.

Last updated: 19 February 2021Legal notice - Privacy policy