EU's Tusk: Eastern Partnership states closer to EU than ever before

There’s no doubt that the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries have gotten closer to the EU than ever before, said the European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday in Brussels, to mark the official commemorations of the 10th anniversary of launching the Partnership.

Tusk was the host of the festive, anniversary dinner that included leaders and foreign ministers of the Eastern Partnership states, as well as the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

As he stressed in his speech, 10 years after the launch of the 

EaP "there's more Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova in the EU". "I believe that there's more EU in your countries than ever before. We're not only neighbours, we're members of the same family," said the European Council President.

Tusk used the occasion to thank the former Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski for his involvement in creating the Partnership. "In the presence of all the EaP and EU institutions' leaders, I would like to sincerely thank you and congratulate you on this wonderful idea. Without your vision and courage there would be no Eastern Partnership," he addressed the former Polish MFA in their native language.

He also added that 10 years of the EaP brought a number of achievements: signing assosiation agreements with three out of six states and granting them visa-free travel withing the EU. "Billions of euro have been spent on managing the borders, communication, environment and energy efficiency, as well as support for business, legal counselling and education," said Tusk.

He underscored that by celebrating the 10th anniversary of the EaP, the members plegde to tighten the relationship and cooperation. He added that it's up to the leaders how the anniversary will look after the next 10 years. "I believe in our joint determination and imagination," said Donald Tusk.

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) was launched in 2009 with the aim of reinforcing political links and economic integration between the European Union and the former soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

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