Minister Murphy welcomes the results of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga22/5/15
Minister of State for European Affairs and Data Protection, Dara Murphy TD, represented Ireland today at the fourth Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga.
This is a high level meeting of EU leaders and leaders of the EU’s six Eastern Partners - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Minister Murphy said "the Summit will strengthen the EU's Partnership with its six Eastern neighbours by reaffirming the principles of our partnership and planning the way forward together."
The Minister welcomed the Summit's Joint Declaration which was agreed this morning. "This Declaration reaffirms the shared vision of our Partnership and sets out agreed priorities for the Partnership for the coming years. The Joint Declaration sets out a differentiated approach to our Eastern Partners, responding to their needs and ambitions, based European values and on the principles of partnership."
The Minister said "during our discussions today, I stressed that at the heart of this partnership is a commitment to strengthen democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the region."
The Minister underlined that the Eastern Partnership was responding to the sovereign choices of its Eastern Partners and was not directed against anyone. "This Partnership does not seek to create new divisions in Europe".
Ireland has ratified, following Dail approval, the Association Agreements with three Eastern partners: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The Agreements include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas.
The Minister recalled that during the Dail debate on these Agreements, he had said that closer economic integration with the EU under these Agreements will in time create opportunities for Ireland to forge stronger political and economic relations with these three countries.
The Minister added that "following this Summit, Ireland also looks forward to proposals for strengthening relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan. We hope Belarus will take steps now to address our concerns so that the EU can increase its engagement Belarus to the benefit of its citizens."
The Joint Declaration prioritises four areas for future cooperation. The Minister said "The focus will be on areas of cooperation which will deliver the maximum benefit to the citizens of the Eastern Partner countries and of the EU".
22 May 2015
The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009 to provide a coherent framework for EU co-operation with six countries of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Previous Eastern Partnership summits have taken place in Prague (2009), Warsaw (2011) and, most recently, in Vilnius (November 2013). This Summit will be hosted by Latvia in its capacity as EU presidency and chaired by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk. There was a very high-level of attendance by leaders of EU Member States and of the six partner countries. The Summit agreed a Joint Declaration dealing with developments in Europe’s Eastern neighbourhood and plans for further cooperation.