Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze took part in the joint working meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union member states and the six Eastern Partnership countries in Tallinn, Estonia on September 8.
The unofficial EaP-EU ministerial meeting, held following the informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers and attended by Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, focused on the practical steps for improving resilience in the EU’s eastern neighborhood through cooperation between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.
The meeting comes less than two months before the 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Brussels on November 24, which will gather the heads of state or government from the EU member states and the six Eastern partner countries to take stock of results achieved since the last summit in Riga and discuss the future of the initiative.
Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said on September 8 that the ministerial meeting would enable the Eastern Partnership countries to discuss the future steps of the European Union’s cooperation with its eastern partners in "an open and non-formal format." He also stated that although countries within the Eastern Partnership enjoy a different pace of development and integration, it is important to maintain unity as all of these countries have shared goals.
Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, who hosted the ministerial meeting on behalf of the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU, said in his press statement on September 8 that he hopes the Eastern Partnership summit will “make significant headway with regard to implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements and Association Agreements with three out of those six Eastern Partnership countries.” “[We also hope to] adopt a declaration that would very clearly define the path forward with regard to this very important instrument that the EU has at its disposal for furthering the cooperation with these six important partners,” he added.
Sven Mikser spoke on the Eastern Partnership and the upcoming summit on September 6 as well. In his opinion piece for the Brussels-based EUobserver, Mikser said the initiative can, “if properly used, act as a means for political stability and positive impetus in our eastern neighborhood,” and pledged to ensure that the Eastern Partnership “remains high on the EUs political agenda” during the Estonian presidency.
As part of his visit to Estonia, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze held a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the European Union, including those from Austria, Croatia and Ireland. He also held a trilateral meeting with Moldovan and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers.
The EaP was launched in 2009 to promote political association and economic integration between the EU and the six Eastern European partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.