Podium with the Chair and speakers in the Hemicycle in Brussels. In the background flags of the EU and the member states of the Assembly
Welcome and address by Prof. Jerzy BUZEK, President of the European Parliament, Euronest constitutive meeting, 03.05.2021, Brussels © European Union (2011) - European Parliament

History of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly

The Neighbourhood Policy of the European Union, including both Eastern and Southern neighbours, was launched in 2003-04 by the European Commission.

The idea to create an inter-parliamentary forum with the Eastern Neighbours (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) came up in 2006 in the European Parliament. The aims of establishing such a forum were to promote multilateral parliamentary dialogue, people-to-people contacts (in particular for young people), and EU values on the functioning of democracy. The purpose was also to deal with subjects like energy, trade, the environment, and convergence with EU laws and standards.

In its resolution of 15 November 2007 on "Strengthening the EU Neighbourhood Policy", the European Parliament endorsed this idea.

On 4-5 June 2008, it organized an ENP-EAST Parliamentary Conference, inviting representatives of the six Eastern Neighbourhood countries. Belarus was represented by extra-parliamentary representatives of the opposition.

The final statement called "upon the European Parliament and the national parliaments represented at the Conference to examine the issue of setting up an EU-Neighbourhood East Parliamentary Assembly, where the EP and participating parliaments could provide appropriate mutual assistance for closer integration with the EU".

The European Council on 19-20 June 2008 supported the proposals for developing the Eastern Dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy and asked the Commission to take the project forward and to present its proposal on "Eastern Partnership" to the Council in spring 2009.

At the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit of 7 May 2009, the Heads of State or Government of the Eastern European Partners, the representatives of the European Union and the Heads of State or Government of its Member States agreed to establish the Eastern Partnership.

As part of this, EU and partner country parliamentarians came forward with ideas on the European Parliament's proposal to establish an EU-Neighbourhood East Parliamentary Assembly (Euronest PA). The EP Delegation to the Euronest PA was constituted in 2009. After intensive discussions on the modalities of participation of Belarus and on the Rules of Procedure, the Euronest PA was constituted on 3 May 2011 in Brussels.