Leaders from EU-member states and their counterparts from five post-Soviet countries will meet in Warsaw for a two-day Eastern Partnership summit on Thursday and Friday to discuss the future cooperation.
Eastern Partnership initiative was launched by EU in May, 2009 to offer six former Soviet countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, closer integration with the European Union, but short of membership. Belarus, whose President is barred from travel to EU, has actually snubbed the summit as its Foreign Minister declined the invitation.
“The purpose of the summit is to provide a strong political signal on the increasing integration of the EU’s Eastern neighbors into Europe,” a statement on website of the Polish EU presidency reads.
President Saakashvili, who leads the Georgian delegation at the summit, said earlier this month after meeting with Polish PM Donald Tusk that he was expecting “a serious breakthrough” this autumn on the country’s path of European integration.
PM Tusk, whose country now holds EU’s rotating presidency, said earlier in September, that Moldova and Georgia made a significant progress in recent years, which “shortens the path, which these countries have to cover to join the European Union had.”
Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Audronius Ažubalis, who visited Tbilisi last week said that the EU Eastern Partnership summit in Warsaw should adopt not “an empty” declaration, but “a very concrete” and added, that Lithuania together with “friends” was “working very hard to press some countries to have a very substantial declaration.”
According to officials from the European External Action Service, EU’s diplomatic service, the summit will underline the so called “more for more approach”, meaning a differentiated approach wherein those members of the Eastern Partnership, which are more committed to reforms, should expect more from EU.
Many leaders from the EU-member states will be attending the summit in Warsaw. Notable absences will be British PM David Cameron; Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who will be visiting Georgia later next week as part of his South Caucasus trip.