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EPP Resolution on the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership and its future

Resolution adopted at the EPP Congress, Zagreb (Croatia), 20th - 21th November 2019

Bearing in mind that:

  1. Eastern Partnership is a tailor-made concept of cooperation for all six countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine. Their further progress on the European path is very much dependent on compliance with European values and standards, to which these countries have committed themselves.
  2. the EU has proved its enormous transformative power through the Enlargement Policy, as confirmed by the success of the Central and Eastern European countries in their development from post-totalitarian regulated economies to European style democracies and social market economies, which was achieved due to the process of integration into the EU,
  3. this transformative power by enlargement shall be used in the Western Balkans and also in Eastern Partnership countries, willing to join the EU,
  4. this year marks the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership (the EaP) which was established in 2009 as part of the European Neighborhood Policy and throughout the decade it has proven to be an effective instrument for providing tailored support based on the ‘more for more and less for less’ principle for the EaP countries in their implementation of the European reforms,
  5. the EPP in its Resolution on Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, adopted during the EPP Congress in Helsinki on 7-8 November 2018, confirmed unequivocal support for a European perspective for the EaP countries, which signed the association agreements with the EU, depending on the implementation progress of European reforms,
  6. the countries of EaP, especially those demonstrating their willingness to join the European Union, continue to face aggressive hybrid threats by the Kremlin in order to keep them in the sphere of its influence and to impede the process of their EU integration in order to not allow them become successful European countries,

That is why the EPP Congress:

  1. declares the EaP Policy as one of the EPP strategic priorities for the next decade and its readiness to elaborate on ambitious and concrete proposals for the EaP policy review, which would provide an opportunity to set out political objectives and goals for the next decade and ways to reinforce relationship with the EU Associated Trio, i.e. Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, which continue on the ambitious path of EU integration, on the basis of the “more for more and less for less” differentiation  principle, and also thus provide attraction for the other three countries of the EaP to move on their reform agenda;
  2. reiterates its strong support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, condemns the occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, as well as the Ukrainian territories in Donbas region, stresses that it will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, reiterates that EU sanctions against Russia will continue until full restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine;
  3. commends the progress achieved so far through the EaP policy, especially in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia (EU Associated Trio), culminating in conclusion of the Association Agreements and DCFTA’s, with ambitious reform roadmaps and launching the visa-free regimes;
  4. reminds that there is broad and consistent public support for EU integration in the EU Associated Trio countries and considers that the EU should send a strong encouraging signal to the societies of the EU Associated Trio, that the EU remains committed to the further deepening of political association and economic integration with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and that the doors of the EU remain open when the relevant membership criteria are met, so as to strengthen further public support for the painful reforms;
  5. stresses that in order to build upon the momentum of the EaP there is a need for the EU to move forward and ensure a qualitatively differentiated approach of the Eastern Partnership policy by presenting an new additional instrument, a new Flagship Initiative – Trio Strategy 2030 – a long-term strategy towards the EU Associated Trio countries, which would be a strong soft power instrument to consolidate democratic institutions and common values as well as to boost reform agenda in these countries and which would be implemented consequently until 2030;
  6. proposes that the Trio Strategy 2030 shall entail concrete tailor-made EU instruments to promote a ‘more for more and less for less’ principle and further strengthen and deepen the EU cooperation with the EU Associated Trio countries that will further facilitate the implementation of reforms and strengthen their commitment to shared values and principles, such as democracy, the rule of law, the fight against corruption, strong and independent judiciary that are not used as an instrument against political opponents, respect for human rights, good governance, and adherence to the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations on free and fair elections, in addition, such Initiative would also clearly demonstrate the benefits of this path to the remaining countries of the EaP;
  7. emphasizes that the EU could be sending a strong soft-power signal to the peoples in the EU Neighborhood by not only demanding more and more of difficult systemic reforms, but also by implementing new Flagship Initiative – Trio Strategy 2030 and in such a way   gradually opening the doors of further integration to the EU Associated Trio countries;
  8. suggests that the new Flagship Initiative could be based on three main guiding elements:
  • A differentiated treatment of the EU Associated Trio – entailing creation of additional new instruments on the EU side, such as reform and investment agendas, screening-like instruments and facilitating institutions, such as Support Groups for all three countries of the EU Associated Trio, to help those countries drive forward the political association and economic integration with the EU;
  • The establishment of the European Trio Process – which will establish deeper integration instruments between the EU and the EU Associated Trio countries and will be based on analogy of successful “Berlin Process” initiated in 2014, which  created a Coalition of like-minded EU Member States and gave an impetus for integration process of the Western Balkans;
  • Calendar until 2030 – the European Trio Process shall be guided by the EU institutions and a coalition of like-minded countries for the “Trio Strategy 2030”. This coalition shall be formed by the countries, which  have a special interest in promoting the Eastern partnership dimension and its success and which will be in the rotating Council Presidency starting from 2020 until 2030 (for example: Croatia and Germany -2020; Czech Republic and France – 2022; Sweden – 2023; Poland – 2025; Lithuania -2027; Latvia – 2028),
  1. maintains that the European Trio Process shall also help to mobilize international community, the EU and G7 partners, international donors and IFIs to partake in the ambitious process;
  2. stresses that the European Trio Process agenda shall be steered by regular leader´s meetings and supported by tools and cooperation frameworks similar to those which are used by “Berlin Process” in Western Balkans – such as the Connectivity Agenda for accessing the EU internal energy, transport and digital market, extended EU Connecting Europe Facility or the List of  Major Infrastructure Projects, and it shall be supported by the new formats of cooperation like the EU Association Investment Platform, cooperation of Association Trio National Investment Councils, boosting a technical assistance to improve public investment management capacity, etc.;
  3. invites the EU institutions and the EU Associated Trio countries to consider the EPP Congress proposal on the establishment of the Trio Strategy 2030 with a view to the adoption of such a Strategy at the next EaP Summit in 2020;
  4. notes that the continued success of the EaP with inclusion of the European Trio Process and with an addition of the Trio Strategy 2030, will be crucial for both the Eastern Neighborhood countries as well as for the EU, because it is the best input for the creation of a Europe that is “whole, free and at peace”, moreover, it is also part of a long-term EU strategy towards Russia, as the success stories of the EU Associated Trio by the power of example, will also give hope to Russian people that a positive change is possible in Russia; this success story by promoting peace will eradicate the dividing lines on the European continent which still separate the EaP region from the rest of the EU.
  5. Further setbacks to democracy, reforms and the rule of law and the erosion of a European orientation will jeopardise a Trio Strategy 2030, as described above.