What happens in the countries in Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus affects the European Union. Successive EU enlargements have brought these countries closer to the EU and their security, stability and prosperity increasingly impact on the EU’s. The potential these countries offer for diversifying the EU’s energy supplies is one example.
All these countries, to varying degrees, are carrying out political, social and economic reforms, and have stated their wish to come closer to the EU. The conflict in Georgia in August 2008 confirmed how vulnerable they can be, and how the EU’s security begins outside our borders.
The European Commission put forward concrete ideas for enhancing our relationship with: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. This would imply new association agreements including deep and comprehensive free trade agreements with those countries willing and able to enter into a deeper engagement and gradual integration in the EU economy. It would also allow for easier travel to the EU through gradual visa liberalisation, accompanied by measures to tackle illegal immigration.
The Partnership will also promote democracy and good governance, strengthen energy security, promote sector reform and environment protection, encourage people to people contacts, support economic and social development and offer additional funding for projects to reduce socio-economic imbalances and increase stability.