Rinkēvičs to EU: don't forget Eastern Partnership

Take note – story published 7 years ago

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs on Monday in Brussels urged his European Union counterparts not to forget about the six countries included in the bloc's Eastern Partnership program.

Rinkēvičs took part in the 7th Meeting of Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers with participation of foreign ministers from the EU member States and the Eastern Partnership countries.

It is now a year since Riga hosted a major Eastern Partnership summit as part of its presidency of the EU and while the Riga Summit was generally judged to be a disappointment in terms of tangible results, Rinkēvičs is still keen to bang the drum for the initiative which is supposed to act as a guide for relations between the EU and Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.  

"The working session [today] included a discussion on the ways for facilitating cooperation with partners in the follow-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga," a statement issued by the Latvian Foreign Ministry said.

"Edgars Rinkēvičs expressed the conviction that the Eastern Partnership will be considered truly successful only when citizens of the partner countries feel tangible benefits and, to this end, the continuity of the Eastern Partnership must be ensured. The Minister called on the EU to actively support the Eastern Partnership countries," the statement continued.

The ministry said Rinkēvičs cited "implementation of agreements on the deep and comprehensive free trade area, visa liberalization, and closer sectoral cooperation" as "the right and necessary steps that the EU must take."

A list of very general areas of interest was also given "broader cooperation in transport, transit, energy, commerce, health and the IT sector... support for the reform process, the promotion of public engagement, opportunities for interconnections and market access, and enhancement of strategic communication capabilities."

Rinkēvičs urged Belarus to establish a moratorium on the death penalty and said negotiations should be started on new agreements with Azerbaijan and Armenia.

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