The Eastern Partnership – a Turning Point in EU-Russia Relations?
On 7 May 2009, EU leaders and the representatives of six former Soviet republics, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine met in Prague to sign a cooperation agreement labelled as the Eastern Partnership (EaP). The initiative belongs to Poland and Sweden, and aims to bring the Eastern countries closer to the EU through implementing democratic reforms, the liberalisation of trade and ‘gradual integration in the EU economy’ (Council of the European Union: 2009); and facilitating travel in the EU for the citizens of these partner countries. The initiative does not offer EU membership perspectives for its members, but aims to enhance the ‘stability, security and prosperity of the European Union and the partner countries and indeed the entire European continent’ (Council of the European Union: 2009) through the integration of the former Soviet republics into the European family of values and rules.
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