Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Zalkaliani and acting Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Moldova Aureliu Ciocoi paid a joint visit to the institutions of the European Union in Brussels.
“The visit was aimed at holding talks with European partners on the priorities of the newly created trilateral format of enhanced cooperation between Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova on European integration – the Associated Trio,” the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said.
The ministers met with EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, as well as Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi and members of the European Parliament.
During a meeting with Borrell, the ministers presented a common strategic vision for the further development of the Eastern Partnership and the Associated Trio. Kuleba, Zalkaliani and Ciocoi identified priority areas for enhancing cooperation with the EU to develop a special partnership between the EU and the Eastern Partnership states that have entered into Association Agreements with the European Union, and to strengthen resilience and security in the region.
“I am especially grateful to EU High Representative Josep Borrell for mentioning the principles of differentiation and inclusion in the further development of the Eastern Partnership. We had a lot of discussions on the introduction of the principle of differentiation. I am glad to hear that today we have found a common language with the European Union, as friends and partners should do. This is another example of how the EU and our three countries hear each other, how the EU takes our interests into account when developing appropriate policies,” Kuleba said.
He also said that the termination of the high-level dialogue between the EU and Russia is part of the European sanctions policy, and initiatives to resume summits with Russia without any progress on the Russian side would be a dangerous deviation from the EU sanctions policy.
“Unfortunately, Russia has shown no intentions to change its behavior either in relation to Ukraine or in relation to the EU. We believe that there is no ground for the resumption of summits,” the minister said.
As part of the public presentation of the Associated Trio initiative, Kuleba informed about the further steps of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova with the aim of rapprochement with the EU and the need to strengthen interaction in the security sector. The minister said that the Associated Trio does not intend to replace the existing format of interaction with the EU, but aims at closer coordination of the three countries to expand the possibilities of Association Agreements and accelerate integration into the European Single Market.
The ministers also met with members of the European Parliament. During a meeting, they paid special attention to the expected results of a future Eastern Partnership summit, in particular in terms of consolidating the recognition of the European prospect of the Trio countries in a final document, protecting their sovereignty and territorial integrity, and maintaining the European Union’s political and financial support for pro-European reforms.
At a meeting with Valdis Dombrovskis, the parties discussed the development of bilateral trade, economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, access to vaccines and macro-financial assistance from the European Union. The ministers noted the important role of the Associated Trio in further trade liberalization with the EU in the context of the implementation of the European Green Deal and the digital transition.
At a meeting with Olivér Várhelyi, the ministers discussed strengthening sectoral cooperation on the European Green Deal, digital transformation, healthcare, transport, energy and security.
“The further development of the Eastern Partnership should take into account the realities of each participating state, its achievements and ambitions. The Associated Trio seeks to develop relations with the EU on the principle of ‘more for more’ and is designed to maximize the potential of our relations with the EU. Strengthening sectoral cooperation, integration into the EU internal market, the development of dialogue in the political and security spheres are our strategic priorities,” Kuleba said.
During his visit to Brussels, the Ukrainian minister also held a bilateral meeting with Member of the European Parliament Anna Fotyga to exchange views on the security challenges of the European and Euro-Atlantic communities amid Russia’s aggressive policy. They also paid special attention to the development of the inter-parliamentary sector of the Crimean Platform and the prospects for the preparation of a resolution by the European Parliament on the situation in the temporarily occupied Crimea.