«The local and regional public finance reform should be considered as an urgent priority, a 'sine qua non' condition in the process of decentralisation and strengthening of local and regional authorities in the EaP countries. We need to make our voice heard by the Heads of State and highlight the added value of having a territorial dimension in the various policies covered by the Eastern partnership. Our input must not only cover cross-border cooperation but also other fields, starting from the strengthening of grass-root democracy, decentralisation and direct involvement in those policies that contribute to growth and job creation at local level».
“A free, independent and vibrant press is indispensable in any democratic society," the High Representative said in her message. “The EU is determined to fight for press freedom worldwide and condemns the increasing level of intimidation, violence and censorship that journalists face in many countries. he EU calls on all governments to allow journalists to work in safety and security, and without the fear of censorship or prosecution. Freedom of expression must be defended both in the traditional media and on the Internet”.
"EU-Azerbaijan relations are developed through the Eastern Partnership, that is to say the Eastern dimension of the European neighbourhood policy. This policy framework is of great value both to the EU and also its partners because it will bring our relationships to a new and higher level… The Eastern Partnership, some say, is using a one-size-fits-all-approach, leading to uniform relationships, in which the specificity and the very nature of each of the partners gets lost. However, exactly the opposite is true: While we do use a common tool box, in which, for example, mobility of people plays a crucial role, together with our partners we are keen to find tailor-made solutions. Differentiation is key, and Azerbaijan in this respect is no exception".
«Azerbaijan an interesting and reliable partner… A partner in regional and international security, in energy, in anti-terrorism, in enterprise development and investment, in culture and in education… The relationship between the EU and Azerbaijan from the EU perspective has enormous potential. I believe we can build a solid foundation for prosperity and development without eroding those special characteristics, traditions and features that make this country and its people unique».
“Yerevan had lots of open air spaces. We used to get together and listen to singers or watch performances… Today every centimeter is owned by someone and none of them cares about art, culture or traditions. They prefer to build glassy stuff and to make the city look as ugly as possible”.
“The central idea that motivated the creation of the Endowment is Europe’s commitment to advancing democracy. Not only does this benefit the people who aspire to freedom and who champion democratic transitions worldwide; it is also in our own European interest. The Endowment comes at a very timely moment, as 2013 will be a crucial year for democratic transitions, in particular in the EU’s neighbourhood. The European Endowment for Democracy can play a very important role. By working directly with those in the field, who are striving for democracy; and by offering flexible, non-bureaucratic and dedicated procedures that are tailored to the needs and demands on the ground.”
“The value of close EU-Russia cooperation is clear to all - our regular exchanges are a sign of this...We share a continent and many common interests, which is why we want to develop this strategic partnership further”.
“This year , the amount of EU assistance to Moldova reached the highest figure – €152 million, i.e. €41 per citizen – the absolute record in the Neighbourhood, denoting the EU’s trust in Moldova. The European Union is pleased with Moldova’s utilisation of funds and we encourage the government to keep the same pace in the implementation of reforms”.
"We welcome progress made by Azerbaijan to fully respect its commitments towards the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the EU. It is a long process and there are still challenges in areas such as freedom of the media, freedom of assembly and freedom of association".
There are many challenges on Ukraine’s road towards political association and economic integration with the European Union. We remain firmly engaged to developing relations with Ukraine, but we cannot realise the full potential of our relations yet.
“The award by the Nobel Committee shows that in these difficult times the European Union remains a force of inspiration for countries and people all over the world and that our global community needs a strong European Union.”
"Standing up for Human Rights, democracy and the rule of law is the silver thread that runs through EU external relations."
The European Union fully recognizes Armenia’s commitment to reforms and the efforts being made. We are also aware of the challenges ahead. But we are in this together and we support you.
"There is no doubt that Moldova belongs to Europe and that it already now shares a common culture, language and history with the European Union. I have said it and I can repeat it: we see Moldovans as Europeans, you belong to our family of nations."
"There is no doubt that Moldova belongs to Europe and that it already now shares a common culture, language and history with the European Union. I have said it and I can repeat it: we see Moldovans as Europeans, you belong to our family of nations".
How would you explain the Eastern Partnership to a trolley-bus driver in Moldova or a high school student in Ukraine?
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is an effort by the European Union to reach out to its six neighbours on the European continent (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and bring them closer to the EU through political association and economic integration, but also by allowing free travel across Europe through cooperation on mobility, with the aim of gradually establishing a visa-free regime.
“Education is key… Necessary budgetary efforts should not come at the expense of education.”
"It is important to accept that nowadays, Civil Society has a much wider role to play than only in the area of human rights. Civil Society contributes also to areas such as consumer protection and the environment; in fact it is difficult to find areas where Civil Society does not offer an added value."
The elections in Georgia were successfully held, and they were recognised as free and fair elections. But as we all know democracy goes beyond the Election Day. It is also the day after, and the upholding of democratic principles and rule of law on a daily basis.
‘Today, Georgia and the EU enjoy a very close trade and investment relationship; we are working together to make it even stronger. The start of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) negotiations between the EU and Georgia, launched last February, has been a major step forward in this regard. Together, we have been working intensively to reach this point. We still have a busy agenda in front of us and the completion of the DCFTA talks is only one step in a long reform process. The EU stands ready to further assist Georgia along the way’.
Our policy of critical engagement with Belarus is a long term challenge. The European Union’s policies are principled and with the clear goal of including Belarus in the family of democratic and open nations. However, we know that for political and economic reasons, bigger changes in this country are likely to take time.
The adoption of this [treason] law follows a number of legislative and judicial developments in the Russian Federation over the few past months. Taken together, these developments would limit the space for civil society development, and increase the scope for intimidation.
“The EU should finally devise an effective strategy how to deal with Belarus - meaning how to firmly respond to flagrant abuses of human rights and rule of law and how to support the Belarusian people and their struggling civil society."
"I am delighted to appoint Stavros Lambrinidis as the first EU Special Representative. Human rights are one of my top priorities and a silver thread that runs through everything that we do in external relations".
"The amendments of the Visa Facilitation Agreement with Ukraine will further facilitate people to people contacts and make it easier for ordinary Ukrainian citizens who want to travel to Europe. The changes will facilitate travelling for, amongst others, representatives of the civil society, NGOs and journalists".
"Belarusian independent media played “a crucial role in the state dominated media landscape in Belarus and have been one of the main victims of the authorities’ crackdown on independent opinions after the 2010 Presidential elections."
“We realised that efforts were essential to ensure that cities like Mtskheta never came under the threat of bombardment, as they are symbolic of the mankind’s best accomplishments”
"The EU calls on all states to guarantee the safety of journalists and to allow them to carry out their vital role of reporting and commenting on events in an independent manner without fear of violence and recrimination."
"Press freedom is never achieved once and for all: it is something that must be nourished and fought for every day. Threats to this fragile liberty never disappear, they just become more subtle; thus the need for an ever stronger vigilance by civil society and a sounder regulatory framework to safeguard access and pluralism."