Distance between EaP societies and EU to shrink in unprecedented ways in one generation, EC President says 
Distance between EaP societies and EU to shrink in unprecedented ways in one generation, EC President says 

European Council President believes Eastern partnership is the locomotive for transformation, prosperity and growth.

Charles Michel vows the EU is the most committed partner for greater democracy, for greater stability, for greater prosperity and above all, for the benefits of the people of  Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

“It’s equally a powerful symbol of openness, mutual confidence and of our cooperation. It has been one generation of independence for you. And in this one generation, the distance between your societies and the EU has shrunk in unprecedented ways,” EC President underscored during his speech at the 2021 Batumi Conference.

Charles Michel claims the EU is the largest trading partner of those countries.

“And I’m convinced that our free trade area can still deliver much more, both to shape your legislative framework for the benefit of your societies, notably by dating you fit to compete on the global market,” he stated.

Charles Michel reviewed “impressive results” of visa liberalization with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, noting that more than half a million of your citizens have benefited from visa-free travel so far, including EU’s support to the young generation with over 80,000 exchanges through our Erasmus plus program.

Speaking of the main priorities, European Council President named three main areas.

“First the huge unprecedented economic investment package with concrete flagship initiatives for each partner country. This economic and investment plan will be supported by 2.3 billion euros with the potential to mobilize up to 17 billion euros in public and private investments for the region.

Second, I totally believe in connectivity in a broad sense, our partnership will improve transport links and infrastructure. We will invest in the creation and renewal of thousands of kilometres of roads and railways by 2030. And this will further shrink the distances between our societies. This connected investment will also provide access to finance for SMS-assisted digital transition and support greater climate and health resilience.

And my third and final point is about reforms. Good governance is the key to unlock the benefits that liberal democracy can bring. This means unhesitatingly promoting the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, fighting corruption. This is not only a political necessity, but it will also teach start growth and earn a lot of fresh opportunities,” he noted.

EC President believes today’s meeting with the leaders of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine is an important milestone that highlights the special ties that connect the EU with its associated partners.

“And we welcome the two-year initiative to foster coordination between the associated partners and with Brussels. This can lead to the sharing of best practices on reforms, on implementation, and on a broader agenda for the future. Today, we are also discussing how to introduce closer coordination between the associated partners and let’s make one suggestion. Why not introduce competitive benchmarking on key reforms, this would help galvanize reform momentum and increase mutual support among partners and help secure your ever-closer ties with the EU,” Michel added.

Today, the Georgian coastal city of Batumi is hosting the 2021 International Conference over enhanced cooperation between the three associated partners of the European Union – Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.