The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the future of the Eastern partnership. It talks about the “aggression” of Russia, the prospect of membership of the six post-Soviet countries in the EU and sectoral integration in Europe.
The EU is an ongoing debate about the future of the Eastern partnership (EAP) initiative aimed at six post-Soviet countries: Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan. On Friday, June 19, recommendations on this issue adopted by the European Parliament. At the plenary session voted for the resolution 507 MEPs, 119 were against and 37 abstained.
This resolution was to make recommendations to the June summit of “Eastern partnership”. The pandemic coronavirus instead of a full summit on June 18 held a video conference of EU leaders and the six post-Soviet countries. Now the summit plan of March 2021.
The prospect of EU membership
“Eastern partnership” does not contain a membership perspective in the EU. This official position is no one is trying to change. However, the European Parliament noted that long-term European perspective for the EAP countries is “a catalyst of democratization and reforms” in them. Because the resolution stressed that “any European state may apply for EU membership if it respects the values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights, including the rights of those who belong to minorities”. The opportunity provided by the EU Treaties.
“Although the EAP the EU is not provided, the Eastern partnership may contribute to gradual integration in the EU”, – said in a resolution. At the same time, the European Parliament noted that “the possible accession process” needs to prepare well as the EU itself and the countries of the “Eastern partnership”. The first step for this resolution called for the full implementation of the current agreements between them. In the case of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova is the Association agreement.
The economy and sectoral integration in the EU
The practical dimension of “Eastern partnership” is economic integration. In this respect, the European Parliament called on the EU to start the process of “creating a common economic space that will lead to integration with the “four freedoms”. We are talking about free movement of goods, capital, services and workers in the internal market of the European Union.
The resolution also talking about the need to take additional measures to “deeper integration and further sectoral cooperation of the countries of “Eastern partnership” and the EU”. As you know, Ukraine is already a few years should be the goal of sectoral integration with the European Union, in particular in the energy and digital economy.
In the European Parliament call on the EU to pay more attention to integration in these sectors. But it emphasized that “unsafe energy projects” such as the Belarusian NPP in Ostrovets, should not be allowed to connect to the European electricity grid.
Other sectors call for the integration of transport and telecommunications. In particular, the resolution called upon “to make priority the creation of a (mobile communication. – Ed.) no roaming charges between the EU and EAP countries, as well as as soon as possible within the “Eastern partnership. Another idea is to connect the countries of “Eastern partnership” towards a Single Euro payments area (SEPA).
One call resolution – increase financial assistance to countries of “Eastern partnership”. This is one of the few foreign policy issues where MEPs have influence. It is now preparing a seven-year EU budget for 2021-27 years, where for each country the “Eastern partnership” will be provided their own line costs. The European Parliament is a party to these negotiations.
The European Parliament wants to strengthen control over the reforms
In Brussels there is a change in rhetoric regarding the expectations from other countries. This was pointed out, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (Ursula von der Leyen), stating at the end of the videoconference the leaders of the “Eastern partnership” that the EU will pay particular attention to the commitment of its partners and democratic values. The European Parliament shares this view, emphasizing that access to EU financial assistance should be tied to commitments to carry out reforms with clear performance indicators.
In the resolution, the MPs call on the EU to carry out regular revaluation of its programmes of support to enhance their effectiveness, and in order to respond quickly if the situation with the rule of law in the countries of “Eastern partnership” will deteriorate. One option in this case, the MEPs called redirecting funds to them received no Central government, and local government and civil society.
The European Parliament condemns Russia as “aggressor”
Since Russia at the time did not want to participate in the “Eastern partnership”, in official EU documents about the program of the Russian Federation is not mentioned. And the resolution of the European Parliament she is offered a lot of attention. In the five EAP countries still has not solved the territorial conflicts. “In most of these conflicts Russia has played an active role of the aggressor, using a hybrid war, the policy of illegal occupation and annexation, cyber attacks, propaganda and disinformation”, – said in a resolution. The European Parliament has condemned these violations of international law and called for “immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from all occupied territories.”
The resolution notes that EU member States should pursue a more coordinated policy towards Russia. In addition, the European Parliament advises to take care to help the EU, EAP countries have reached the local level, particularly in remote rural areas that are “most vulnerable to Russian manipulation”.
At the same time, the European Parliament calls on the EU to propose new forms of voluntary cooperation with the countries of the Eastern partnership in the field of security and defense. According to MEPs, this should include cooperation in the development of new weapons and military technologies.