Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy said on Wednesday that the Customs Union membership of the Eastern Partnership countries is not compatible with EU’s Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit that will take place in November in Vilnius, Lithuania, is already generating buzz. Set to be a major milestone in the EU’s relations with the Eastern Partnership states, the summit is expected to reach a crescendo with the signing of an Association Agreement with Ukraine. The announcement of the end of talks on or even the initialing of similar agreements with Moldova and Georgia may be additional high notes.
The summit of the Eastern Partnership that took place last week in Warsaw, Poland, turned into a bombastic event, complete with the ceremonial exchange of solemn words. The only exception was Moscow, which surprised everyone with its calm and even somewhat positive attitude. The Russian foreign ministry did not even rule out the possibility of cooperation. Compared with the passions that the Eastern Partnership elicited two or three years ago, when Russia denounced it as an expansion of the European Union, Russia's relaxed attitude this time seems out of place. What caused this change?
The results of the last Summit of the “Eastern Partnership” member-states show that the struggle between Russia and West for a dominating influence over former Soviet republics has entered into a new stage. And it seems that Moscow captures greater initiative.
The “Eastern Partnership” Summit to be held in September 29th-30th in Warsaw should significantly revive this project due to the increase of financing and specification of programs. In particular, they express hopes for successful finalization of talks on the agreement on Association of Ukraine and the EU. In practice this should mean the announcement about finalization of talks on the Association of Ukraine and the EU, as well as sounding new offers for the projects’ participating states: Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. These offers should cover significant increase in project financing or concentration of funds for specific programs. An important issue within the frameworks of “Eastern Partnership” should be the relaxation of visa regime of the EU with the member-states of the project.
Energy security is the main priority of Lithuania, as a future Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE.
Political relationships still have time to cement.
Extension of contacts between official bodies in Minsk and Vilnius creates favorable conditions for the development of Belarusian-Lithuanian cooperation. But disagreements on a number of political issues still exist.
Despite until recently being of no political 'colour', Slovakia's newly-appointed EU commissioner, Maroš Šefčovič, will represent the social democratic political family in the EU executive, he told EurActiv Slovakia in an exclusive interview.
An unexpected initiative of Moscow doesn't promote WTO joining for Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. The participants of the Customs Union received two variants of WTO joining: together and separately.