An official website of the European Union. See all European Institutions
Q. We are celebrating ten years since the Eastern Partnership this year. How do you understand the recent declaration of President [of Ukraine, Pedro] Poroshenko who said that in 2024 he will put in a request to accede to the European Union. There are presidential elections in March there and this is an electoral message.
I would not comment on the specific words or statements that have been made but I can tell you this: as the Minister [Teodor Meleşcanu] said, if you look back ten years ago or if you even look back five years, especially for Ukraine, five years ago was a quite dramatic time; I remember it very well. We have achieved so much with all of our Eastern partners, that, again, looking back even a few years' time, not to mention ten [years], some things would have been completely impossible to believe at the time.
In particular with Ukraine, but also with Moldova and Georgia, we have managed to achieve the three main objectives that we had decided to work upon with those three partners. The trade agreement that is the most advanced one we could put in place, the Association Agreement, that give us a framework for regular constant exchanges and cooperation on a political level on all different sectors, and that is moving forward and supporting all reforms that in this countries are asked for by the citizens and are beneficial for their society, their economy, the rule of law. And the visa liberalisation that has always been on top of the agenda for those three countries, and that I believe has brought an immediate and tangible change for the citizens of Ukraine but also of Georgia and Moldova.
Again, if you look back for instance at the beginning of my mandate, some four years and a half ago, all of these objectives would have seemed completely out of reach. I think we have something to celebrate also thanks to the determination of the Member States and of our partners in managing to achieve something that was impossible to even dream of at that time.
I would not comment about what would happen as of 2024, but we have closer targets that are at reach, we have agenda of 20 deliverables for 2020 - 2020 is one year from now - and we are convinced both, on the Member States and on the Commission side, that these changes that are doable, that are at reach and that are extremely concrete from the point of view of how they might impact the life of the citizens, both of their countries but also of ours, are something on which, in a very pragmatic and concrete way, we can work together and achieve excellent results.
But it is true that when we will celebrate in May the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership, we will have something to celebrate together with each and every of the six partners, because with each and every of them, including the three that do not have an Association Agreements with the European Union, we have advanced enormously in our partnership in terms of signing initial negotiating agreements, in terms of strengthening cooperation, in terms of internal reforms or steps towards internal reforms, that they have been doing. And in general terms, in terms of coming together so often and on a regular basis, respecting what their preference is when it comes to what kind of relations they want to see together with the European Union, in which fields, and a certain flexibility that I think we have adopted in the European Union, in adjusting our agenda and our cooperation with them according to this. When we say it is a tailor made approach, it is for real, and this has brought good results with all the six [Eastern Partnership countries].