The goals achieved within the Eastern Partnership (EaP), as well as the commercial and association agreements with Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia and the visa liberalisation would have seemed impossible not necessarily ten years ago, in the beginning of this cooperation format, but also in the beginning of the mandate of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini told a joint press conference with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu in Bucharest on Friday.
We have achieved so much with all our eastern partners. Looking back just a few years ago, not necessarily ten, some things would have been unbelievable at the time, especially regarding Ukraine as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. We have managed to fulfill the main three objectives which we decide to work on together with the three countries: the commercial agreement, which is the most advanced that we could attain, the association agreement, which ensures us a framework for regular exchanges and cooperation on a political level in various sectors, and the visa liberalisation which has always been a priority of the agenda for the three countries and which has brought an immediate change for the citizens in Ukraine, as well as those of the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, Mogherini said, in reply to a request to assess what has been achieved so far within EaP.
If you take a look, for instance, in the beginning of my mandate, four and a half years ago, all these objectives would have been absolutely impossible to reach and I believe we have something to celebrate, both due to the determination of the member states and to the determination of our partners in achieving something that was impossible to dream of at some point, she stressed.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy pointed out she does not comment on the statement of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, according to whom Ukraine would file the accession to the UE request in 2024, but she pointed out that there is a goal agenda for 2020 and that they are positive that these changes, which are extremely concrete in terms of the manner in which they could affect citizens’ lives can be implemented.
When we celebrate in May ten years of Eastern Partnership, we will have something to celebrate with each of the six partners. Because in the relation with each of these countries, even with those three that we don’t have association agreements with (Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan – ed. n.), we advanced a great deal in our partnership, in terms of signing, initialling or negotiating agreements, in terms of strengthening cooperation or in terms of internal reforms and, in general terms, in having regular contacts and respecting what kind of relationship they want to have with the EU, Mogherini underscored.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy says that the EU has proved flexibility in adapting its agenda and the cooperation level with these countries started from this reality. Many times an especially fit approach is mentioned, and now it really is and this has paid good results with all the six countries, Mogherini also said.
“Role Romania can play is very important in facilitating understanding between EU and Turkey”
The role that Romania can play is very important in connecting Turkey and the European Union, in helping the two sides understand the mutual positions and developing their relation potential, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said in Bucharest on Friday.
Asked within a joint press conference with Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu if Romania could contribute to improving the understanding and communication with Turkey, Mogherini said that there are prospects in this respect. She pointed out that she is grateful to the Romanian presidency for this, although there have been countries in the region, such as Bulgaria, in the period when it held the rotating presidency at the EU Council, which ensured a special perspective on the relation with Turkey.
They provide a special perspective in our understanding, contacts and relations with a country like Turkey, which is at the same time a EU candidate country and a partner in a region that is a priority to us. I believe that the role that Romania can play is very important both in connecting us, in truly understanding each one’s positions, that is not only us understanding Turkey better, but also Turkey understanding EU’s stands better, and building more on the potential of our relation in the coming months, said Mogherini.
She reiterated that she paid a visit to Turkey some months ago with European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn.
“We have had for the first time after a certain time a high-level political dialogue session hosted by Foreign Minister Cavusoglu and we had good talks regarding foreign policy matters in which Turkey and the EU have a common interest of reaching a positive solution. We don’t agree on everything, but there are many matters in which our interests converge and I believe intensifying cooperation in particular in the strategic areas of foreign and security policy is a common interest”, Mogherini also said.
Melescanu: Romania will insist on projects meant to improve connectivity between EU and Eastern Partnership states
Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Melescanu on Friday reiterated, at the end of the Gymnich meeting, that Romania wants to organise a summit at foreign affairs ministers level in Brussels, to discuss Eastern Partnership, while also adding that our country will insist on such projects to improve connectivity between EU and Eastern Partnership states.
“When we speak of the Eastern Partnership, we have two categories of countries. On the one side, there are three countries: Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, which signed the association agreement with the EU and enjoy an agreement on the elimination of the visas for their respective citizens. For these three, it is clear that our concern will be to diminish any obstacles against the economic association between the countries of the Eastern Partnership and the European Union, in compliance with the provisions of the treaty. For the other three: Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan, our concern will obviously be to find new modalities to support the promotion of reforms and the development of these countries, to allow them to become as soon as possible associates of the European Union and enjoy the visa elimination for their citizens too. Anyway, as a general approach, Romania, at the event in Brussels on the Eastern Partnership, will insist on the idea that, besides the respective appreciations and values promoted, we should focus on such concrete projects to improve connectivity between the EU states and the Eastern Partnership Area and further develop them, including through the effort of making the necessary reforms,” the Romanian Minister told a press conference held jointly with Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
He also mentioned that the objective of the meeting in Brussels will be to analyze and discuss “very openly” the results the Eastern Partnership brought to the EU member states and partner states. Moreover, it will present the opportunity of “looking into the future,” which also happened after the year 2020 and what will be the commitment of the countries in the EU and of the Union overall in respect to the relation with the countries of the Eastern Partnership.
“In this respect, I must say that we grant a special attention to the achievement of certain objectives in the digital, energy, transportation and business partnerships fields. Of course, one of the main topics is the manner in which we will conclude or what will be the conclusions of our meeting at ministerial level. We very much hope that we will be able to draw some ideas related to the assessment of the results, to try to also think about the future and especially to seek an official agreement among the member states, the partner states and EU states, to continue this programme after 2020, too,” specified the head of the Bucharest diplomacy.
Melescanu also referred to Romania’s intention to stimulate the negotiation process for Turkey’s accession to the EU.
“During this presidency, there already took place a high level meeting between Commissioner Hahn [European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn – editor’s note] and Mr Minister Cavusoglu [Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu – editor’s note]. This is a first important step. A second event that happened on May 15 (…) of discussions with Turkey about the manner in which the EU-Turkey Association Council works. We may be also thinking of events that could be organised, again at high level, in the context in which the necessary requirements for the adoption of such decision are met. But, of course that we are going to do everything in our power to succeed in pushing ahead the negotiations and give a very clear signal in relation to the importance that we grant to the negotiation process for Turkey’s accession to the EU,” specified Melescanu.
“The meeting resulted in the wish to promote cooperation with China on pragmatic basis”
Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu stated on Friday, at the end of the informal meeting of the foreign affairs minister of the EU (Gymnich), that, the talks resulted in the wish to promote cooperation with China on pragmatic basis.
“From our point of view, what has resulted as conclusions is the idea of a wish to promote the cooperation with China on pragmatic basis, including in view of solving some international crises, assistance development programmes and some ambitious measures for fighting climate changes. Certainly, in this context we also discussed the importance of the transatlantic relation and the relations of the US with China,” the Romanian Minister told a joint news conference with EU High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Frederica Mogherini.
Melescanu highlighted that the People’s Republic of China remains the main economic partner of almost the entire majority of European states.
“Another important event which we will have during our presidency will be to capitalise on the connectivity strategy between Europe and Asia, that has recently been adopted by the EU. I have to tell you that from all the data, it results pretty clear that the People’s Republic of China remains the main economic partner of almost the entire majority of European states. Romania – there is no point in insisting – obviously endorses the complementarity of China-Central Europe and Eastern Cooperation Formation, 16 + 1, with the relations between the EU and the People’s Republic of China, clearly wanting that all these activities be in a climate of full transparency and in accordance with EU legislation and values,” he said.
“There is a red line for EU countries that cannot be crossed”
Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu stated on Friday, within the informal meeting of the foreign affairs minister of the EU (Gymnich), that two weeks ago when he paid a visit to Chisinau, he conveyed the message that for Romania and for the other member states of the EU there is a red line that cannot be crossed, regarding the fair, democratic and efficient organisation of the elections in the Republic of Moldova.
“Some of the issues which we are confronted with at the EU level are related to the elections in two key-countries of the Eastern Partnership. It’s about the Republic of Moldova, but it is also about Ukraine. Ten days ago, namely two weeks ago, I paid a visit to Chisinau, occasion on which, among other things I discussed with Mr Prime Minister, I said very clearly that for Romania, but not only for Romania, for the European Union countries, there is a red line that cannot be crossed and this is connected to the fair, democratic and efficient organization of the elections in the Republic of Moldova. I have very clearly stated that it is an essential test, which the relationship between the Republic of Moldova and the EU continues to depend on. I sent a very clear message. The second message I gave to the Prime Minister is not to break the connection with other parties in the non-parliamentary opposition, but with European orientation, because finding a majority based on the European idea might be taken into account,” the Romanian Minister told a joint press conference with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
He mentioned that within the visit to Chisinau, he also carried out a meeting with representatives of all the non-parliamentary parties of the Republic of Moldova with pro-European tendencies and visions.
“Sure, [we met] at the Embassy of Romania. It was very nice to see that all the structures existing at the level of the Moldovan society are there. And here, we made sure we are sending a message of observing the manner in which the free and fair elections are going to take place and, at the same time, I told them the reverse of the message which I addressed to Mr. Filip: that it’s not good to say never in politics. So, for them, I gave a signal that they should also consider the possibility of other actions,” he said.
Melescanu mentioned that there will probably be numerous foreign observers during the electoral process.
“I want to tell you that even at the Council of Europe level, and the OSCE [the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe] level, there is an interest in carefully watching the way elections are held in Moldova. Therefore, we can expect to have numerous observers to do their job and be able to provide an as accurate as possible image of how the elections were held. We hope for [the elections] to be correct, fair, and the people we want to be elected,” he said.
“Creation of international contact group for Venezuela starts from need for reconciliation”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Melescanu said on Friday, before joining the Gymnich informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, that the initiative to set up an international contact group to help organize new presidential elections in Venezuela starts from the need for reconciliation.
“It is, in my view, a very important discussion for the European Union, because we have managed to have a certain approach to this issue, starting from the need for reconciliation and to organize as soon as possible early elections in Venezuela and secondly, because the decision was adopted to set up a contact group of EU and Latin American countries to contribute to carrying out this project,” Melescanu said in a statement to the press.
He added that Juan Guaido’s recognition as Venezuela’s interim President depends on the position of each member state.
“With regard to the recognition of the President of the National Assembly, Mr Guaido, as interim President of Venezuela, this strictly depends on how each member state wishes to position itself. For us, the problem is to start a process that paves the way for elections. Otherwise, each state is free to adopt its own stance. (…) As far as sanctions are concerned, the idea to impose sanctions has largely been accepted, yet so as to not affect the Venezuelan population, but targeted at particular persons,” Melescanu said.
EU’s chief diplomat Federica Mogherini announced on Thursday that the European Union will set up an international contact group to help chart a peaceful way to new presidential elections in Venezuela.