EuroNest: marking Eastern Partnership successes and challenges
EU Eastern Partnership is a success story, but is facing new challenges, such as cyber-attacks or fake news, MEPs and MPs from Eastern countries agreed in Kyiv on Tuesday.
At the opening of the 6th session of the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly in Kyiv, MEPs and MPs from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada Chairman Andriy Parubiy said: “EuroNest is a unique platform of cooperation between EU and Eastern Countries”. He also emphasised the importance of EU and Ukraine relations, which are vital in the context of Russian aggression.
Dariusz Rosati (EPP, PL), chairman of European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, said that the Eastern Partnership is one of the top priorities for the Parliament. “We can all be justly proud of the progress we have made in our relationship since 2011,” he said, listing EU trade deals and visa-free regimes with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia among the accomplishments.
He also informed the assembly that, in the run-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit, taking place in Brussels on 24 November, Parliament will vote and ask for “a longer-term ‘Eastern Partnership Plus’ model for associated countries that have made substantial progress in implementing the agreements”.
EuroNest Assembly co-president Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA, DE) stressed that the Eastern Partnership is being challenged on a number of fronts: “terrorism, cyber-attacks, fake news (…), no real progress on the protracted conflicts (…), abuse of power, corruption and organised crime (…), unemployment and poverty.” She urged that all the political weight be placed on the implementation of the Association Agreements and subsequent reforms.
In addition to results and challenges, Marian Lupu, Moldovan parliamentarian and co-president of the EuroNest Assembly, encouraged reflection on the future of Eastern Partnership. He advocated for better coordination between different Eastern Partnership platforms (assembly, summit, business, civil society) and proposed a “two speed” partnership, which would distinguish the countries which have EU association agreements agreements from those who have other types of agreement, to help the former progress faster on European path.
EuroNest Bureau message for Eastern Partnership Summit
Before the plenary, the Bureau of EuroNest parliamentary assembly, composed of the chairs of the EP and Eastern Partners delegations, unanimously adopted a message for the Eastern Partnership Summit. For the first time, all Members agreed on an ambitious text on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, calling for an immediate end to military hostilities and a re-launch of substantive negotiations.
What’s next ?
The EuroNest plenary, meeting until Wednesday evening, will discuss the preparations for the Eastern Partnership Summit and adopt resolutions on media freedom, youth unemployment, the situation of women in the labour markets in Eastern partner countries, as well as energy cooperation to implement the Paris climate change agreement.
The Assembly will also debate how to beef up cybersecurity in the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries.
The plenary is webstreamed live here.
Wednesday, 1 November, 17.15 at Conference Hall (Verkhovna Rada), with EuroNest Co-Presidents Rebecca Harms and Marian Lupu (live webstreaming).
The EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly was established on 3 May 2011 in Brussels as the parliamentary institution of the EU Eastern Partnership. Meeting once a year, it aims to promote political association and further economic integration between the European Union and Eastern neighbours (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). The European Parliament delegates 60 members, and the Eastern Partners 10 each. Belarus does not for the time being take part in the Assembly's activities, but Belarusian MPs will be welcomed once political requirements will have been fulfilled.