The European People’s Party (EPP) hosted its 7th Eastern Partnership (EaP) Leaders’ Meeting via video conference on 17 June. The meeting included several EPP heads of state and government, as well as party leaders from EU Member States and EaP countries (see full list of participants below). EPP President Donald Tusk delivered a statement after the meeting which is available here.

The EPP has played a long-standing and active role in the EaP process. The party remains committed to this project which has brought our eastern neighbours closer to European standards, recognised their aspirations and become a real power for change, democratisation and reform. The geopolitical situation in the region, with the Russian threat and the security situation, remains high on our agenda. It is further reason to develop a clear strategy and a political vision to enhance our cooperation with our EaP partners beyond 2020.

Regarding the situation in the Eastern Partnership countries:

• EPP will promote EU-Armenia relations in the framework of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, exercising political will for full ratification and implementation of the agreement.

• Democracy is backsliding in Armenia. We call on Armenian authorities to refrain from pressuring the opposition.

• EPP welcomed the March 8 Agreement between Georgia’s Government and opposition as a key step to reduce tensions. We remain concerned that Giorgi Rurua is still in prison. We call for full implementation of the Agreement and his release. EPP also expects the upcoming election campaign in Georgia will be free of vote-buying, intimidation of voters, impunity for violence and abuse of administrative resources, as international monitors reported during the last elections.

• EPP calls on President Lukashenka to stop the unprecedented repression of the opposition and to release all political prisoners in Belarus. EPP is monitoring the arrest of Sergei Tikhanovski, Pavel Severinets and others, who face extreme conditions in prison, putting their health at risk. In addition, we call on all European countries and EU institutions to react swiftly and decisively to stop repression in Belarus.

• Ukraine should not miss its chance to commit to its reform agenda. The EPP will support Ukraine on this path.

• EPP is very concerned by political cases against former President Petro Poroshenko. The charges should not resemble politically motivated persecution, nor be politically motivated against select political opponents. Politically motivated cases are unacceptable and shameful even more so for democratically elected governments. The EPP will remain on high alert.

• EPP will monitor the upcoming elections in Moldova. Free and fair elections are an absolute priority. Moldova needs a solid pro-reformist and pro-European majority that would be representative of the people. The current Parliament is dysfunctional and the best solution is to go back to the people and let them decide. EPP member parties in Moldova need to be united ahead of the Presidential elections in November, a significant electoral test.

EPP President Donald TUSK hosted the leaders meeting in the presence of EPP Secretary General Antonio LÓPEZ-ISTÚRIZ.

The President of the European Commission Ursula VON DER LEYEN and EU heads of state and government Nicos ANASTASIADES (Cyprus) Janez JANŠA (SIovenia), Krišjānis KARIŅŠ (Latvia) Angela MERKEL (Germany) Andrej PLENKOVIĆ (Croatia) participated in the meeting.

Party leader Helir-Valdor SEEDER (Estonia) and opposition leaders Pablo CASADO (Spain) Adrian DELIA (Malta), Frank ENGEL (Luxembourg), Marian JUREČKA (Czechia) and Ulf KRISTERSSON (Sweden) were also in attendance.

EPP Vice Presidents Johannes HAHN (Austria), David McALLISTER (Germany) Siegfried MUREŞAN (Romania), Franck PROUST (France) attended the event.

From the Eastern Partnership countries, Raffi HOVANNISIAN and Serzh SARGSYAN (Armenia), Yury HUBAREVICH and Vital RYMASHEUSKI (Belarus), Davit BAKRADZE and Grigol VASHADZE (Georgia), Andrei NASTASE and Maia SANDU (Moldova), Vitali KLITSCHKO, Petro POROSHENKO, Oksana SYROID and Yulia TYMOSHENKO (Ukraine) also participated.

The President of the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly, Andrius KUBILIUS, and Radosław SIKORSKI, Member of the European Parliament, also attended.