Eastern Partnership summit, Riga, 21-22/05/2015
A the occasion of the fourth Eastern Partnership summit in Riga, EU leaders met with the representatives of the EaP partner countries to reconfirm the importance the EU attaches to its Eastern Partnership (EaP).
Summit participants took stock of the achievements made since the Vilnius summit in 2013 and set out a positive agenda for the future.
"Our partnership, as well as the Riga Summit itself, are not about dramatic decisions or taking giant steps forward. No, our relationship is built on free will, respect and equality. And our partnership will go forward step-by-step, just as the European Union has been built."
President Tusk at the press conference of the Riga summit
Differentiation and inclusivity
The summit was the occasion to demonstrate EU's determination to pursue closer, differentiated relations with its independent and sovereign partners.
The EU is strongly engaged with all six partners, whatever their individual level of ambition in terms of relations with the EU. The scope and depth of cooperation are determined by:
- the EU's and partners' ambitions and needs
- the pace of reform
The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009, as a joint initiative between:
- the EU
- EU member states
- 6 Eastern European and South Caucasus partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine
The European aspirations and European choice of the partners concerned are acknowledged, as stated in the Association Agreements.
Leaders also reaffirmed the importance of the reform agenda in the eastern partners and the need to establish strengthened and more transparent institutions, free from corruption.
Discussions focused on multilateral cooperation projects aiming at:
- strengthening institutions and good governance, the EU confirmed its engagement to help partner countries to strengthen institutions and their resilience to external challenge
- enhancing mobility and contacts between people
- developing market opportunities by improving the business environment and legal certainty in Eastern European partners to SMEs and businesses and focusing on the digital economy field
- ensuring energy security and improving the interconnections for energy but also transport
Conflict resolution in the region was also high on the agenda of the summit. All summit participants agreed to pursue all efforts aiming at de-escalation and a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and the peaceful settlement of other unresolved conflicts in the region.
The summit in Riga was accompanied by a number of side events, demonstrating that the Eastern Partnership goes beyond intergovernmental relations to involve civil society, media, business and other stakeholders.
At the Eastern Partnership Business Forum in Riga, on 21 May 2015, the European Commission launched the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Facility for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The facility will provide some €200 million worth of grants and is expected to unlock new investments worth at least €2 billion for the SMEs in the three DCFTA countries: Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
On 22 May 2015, the European Commission and Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding and loan agreement for the third EU Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme to Ukraine.
Additional information and communication material can be found on the European Commission and the EEAS websites. At the occasion of the Riga summit, specific leaflets were developed to illustrate stories, facts and figures of the partnership and the different flagship initiatives.