Currently, as the European Union prepares to make a leap in development, aiming at new ambitious initiatives - a new approach to economic development, digitalization and strengthening the resilience of states in a pandemic - a new approach to the neighborhood proves necessary.
Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna emphasized during the GLOBSEC International Forum in Bratislava, Slovakia.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, EU member states and neighbors must develop synergy to find an approach that meets the new challenges and opportunities in the neighborhood. In particular, she stressed that growing tensions and conflicts in the Eastern Partnership countries indicate a deep crisis in this format.
"We cannot turn a blind eye to change while staying in the geopolitical reality of 10 or 20 years ago. For two years now, we have been engaged in an intensive discussion with Member States and the EU on the future of the Eastern Partnership, as well as its key achievements after 2020. Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have taken a clear position on the need for a more differentiated approach, the formation of a "troika" format. Unfortunately, we have not made any progress in this discussion and the current situation demonstrates that there is a need to reconsider approaches to the region," said Olha Stefanishyna.
She stressed that it is critical now to recognize the new geopolitical reality, in which Ukraine is the largest country on the European continent with a clear course for membership in the EU and NATO and expresses commitment to lead the process of resetting the region.
"The EU understands that Ukraine is one of the few countries in the region that continues to implement reforms and remains committed to the European course. In addition, Ukraine manages to resist aggression on its territory," said the Deputy Prime Minister.
Olha Stefanishyna also stressed that the Western Balkans and the Eastern Neighborhood should not be divided, as these countries have much in common. "We have the same issues on the agenda of our countries: economic integration, reform screening. We face the same challenges, trying to transform the old system and move towards the rule of law, to reform the judiciary, the law enforcement system. And most importantly, we share the desire to integrate into the European family."