The strategic review of relations between the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Union should include an open EU policy for Ukraine. Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna stressed during the international conference "Associated Countries of the Eastern Partnership: Parliamentary Cooperation and Security Cooperation".
The official emphasized that we can see an urgent need for strategic discussions on the revision of the Eastern Partnership initiative. This initiative should include an open EU policy with a more differentiated and forward-looking agenda for those partners aspiring to join the EU, namely Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
"Given today's global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, global warming and security threats to the region, it is clear that an effective solution to these issues goes beyond the existing format of the Eastern Partnership and requires closer cooperation between partner countries and the EU", said the Deputy Prime Minister.
Therefore, the official stressed the importance of the European Union's support for the ambitions of partner countries to deepen cooperation within the Eastern Partnership framework.
Olha Stefanishyna also added that hybrid threats from Russia and the ongoing conflicts in the Eastern Partnership region require a new approach to security within the initiative. In particular, this should include the active involvement of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova in defense cooperation with the EU and NATO.
"We are grateful for the positive decision on the possibility of involving partner countries in the PESCO program," said the Deputy Prime Minister. "Our country seeks to join this large-scale security and defense program and considers participation in PESCO projects one of the priority ways to develop military-technical cooperation with the EU and improve national defense capabilities in accordance with best practices and standards."
Olha Stefanishyna summed up that she sees the development of relations with the EU with the three associated partners - Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – similar to the successful way for the EU to cooperate with the Western Balkans.
The international conference was attended by members of the parliaments of Georgia, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and the European Parliament, representatives of governments and diplomatic missions of these countries, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations. The participants discussed the strategic future of the Eastern Partnership and new perspectives for the EU partner countries.
The event was organized by the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Ukraine's Integration into the EU in cooperation with the Foreign Policy Council "Ukrainian Prism" think tank.