On 14 May, Heads of State or Government of the Eastern partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine), foreign ministers of the EU Member States, civil society representatives, business leaders, young people and journalists from across the 34 countries gathered in Brussels to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.
On this occasion, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini delivered a speech in which she reflected on the last five years of the initiative:
“When we started our mandates almost five years ago, I remember very well that the Eastern Partnership was probably one of the most contentious policies we had in place. [...] and the idea of having a policy that could have been seen or interpreted as a geopolitical instrument or as a work on sphere of influences risked to be prevailing from time to time,” she said.
“I think that in these five years together, across the institutions, and with our Eastern partners, each of them, we managed to show that this has nothing to do with geopolitics or spheres of influence,” highlighted Mogherini. “This is not the way in which the European Union thinks and works. Because as the Minister [Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia] just said, it is all about people and a cooperative approach.”
“If you look at the results today, if you look at the number of trade exchanges, if you look at the number of Erasmus students, if you look at the visa liberalisation, if you look at the number of meetings, exchanges, coordination and telephone calls indeed – this is good because we use each other's numbers to coordinate policies and positions, and to exchange information in a timely manner,” highlighted Mogherini, adding that it has become possible to deliver concrete, measurable results.
“I can only wish that the next ten years can be as successful as the last at least five years, also in delivering to our people,” Mogherini concluded.
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