Summit wraps up with declaration and departure

Take note – story published 8 years ago

Riga's Eastern Partnership Summit, the climax if not quite the final act of Latvia's six-month European Union Presidency, came to a conclusion Friday with European leaders declaring themselves pleased with steady rather than spectacular progress.

The thirteen-page 'Riga Declaration' signed by all attending countries made up for in sheer size what it lacked in novelty and anyone with a deep desire to experience classic eurospeak can read it here.

Despite a light sense of anticlimax on the part of some from Georgia and Ukraine in particular, both European Council President Donald Tusk and a relieved-looking Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma said they were satisfied overall.

"This message of our continued consistent commitment to the Eastern Partnership in each of our partner countries is the main message of this summit and it is a necessary message in light of the last year's turmoil, aggression, intimidation and even war in this part of Europe," Tusk said.

"Nobody promised that the Eastern Partnership will be an automatic way to membership of the European Union. It's a long process," Tusk said.

"This level of ambitious common language is maybe the maximum we can achieve today."

On her part Struajuma said: "Summit declarations are always a compromise, but I'm satisfied with the result."

Giving his own press conference, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said: “We confirmed that on 1st January 2016 the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement will be launched... we are extremely satisfied with the level of solidarity the European Union displayed here today with Ukraine.”

“Today we have taken away all the political obstructions to Ukraine's visa free regime.”

The afternoon was also brightened by the appearance outside the conference venue at the Latvian National Library of an anti-Eastern Partnership demonstration led by the familiar figure of pro-Kremlin MEP Tatjana Zdanoka.

Standing behind a banner declaring "Eastern Partership a Trigger for War" Zdanoka told LSM: “We are here to say that the Eastern Partnership is a very dangerous instrument for war and real military conflict – we see it in Ukraine. Eastern Partnership countries are being made to choose between agreement with the Euriopean Union and the Customs Union and are losing out.”

“The responsibility for what's happening in Ukraine lies completely, fully with the United States and European Unions,” she enthused. 

Pro-Russia activist Vladimir Linderman, who was the originator of a failed attempt to have Russian made an official language in Latvia told LSM: "Don't conflict with Russia, that's the main thing to remember."

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