Active way beyond its borders, the EU meets regularly with countries and regions from around the world. This week alone the EU held meetings with Moldova, Ukraine, the Gulf Region, Algeria, Lebanon and Montenegro.
The format of the meetings differs, but the ultimate objective is always the same: maintaining a political dialogue.
For Moldova, Ukraine and the Gulf, this dialogue was further strengthened within Cooperation Council meetings this week. Both Moldova and Ukraine are part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative, which strengthens relations through trade and encourages integration into the EU economy, among other activities.
The meetings with Moldova and Ukraine saw a reiteration from the EU of its readiness to help both countries with macro-financial assistance.
The EU also offered to advise the Moldovan government, and called on the government to step up its structural reform process, particularly in terms of the rule of law, the fight against corruption, business and investment.
Ukraine, like many other countries, is currently experiencing economic and financial instability. The EU urged continued efforts to calm the situation, in cooperation with the IMF and other international financing organisations, and offered support with the implementation of reforms.
Delegates also discussed Ukraine’s democratic development, with the EU welcoming the way in which the Presidential elections were conducted.
These Cooperation Councils also serve as a forum for discussing progress towards Partnership and Cooperation Agreement objectives and European Neighbourhood Policy action plans. The former are intended to strengthen democracy and economies in the EU’s neighbours to the east, while the latter is designed to maintain close relations between the EU and its neighbours by strengthening prosperity, stability and security.
Meetings with Algeria, Lebanon and Montenegro took the form of Association Councils. The EU and Algeria looked back over five years of cooperation and agreed to ‘work with more ambition and greater commitment’ in the future so as to strengthen the relationship still further.