The FINANCIAL — Ukraine`s deputy prime minister on December 8 lauded the Eastern Partnership, an initiative presented by the European Commission last week, as “a step forward” in relations between the EU and its eastern neighbours, the European Voice reported.
Hryhoriy Nemyria believes that the Partnership gives its six eastern members – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and possibly Belarus – a sense of ownership that they lack in their current relations with the EU, which are framed by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).
Nemyria also argued that it creates “a new visibility for the six countries that is separate from the Mediterranean countries” that are the other members of the ENP.
During a visit to Brussels on 8 December, Nemyria met Alexandr Vondra, the Czech deputy prime minister for European affairs, and he emerged to say that he holds high hopes for the Czech presidency of the EU, which starts in January. Prague has indicated that the Eastern Partnership will be high up the agenda, with its official launch planned for the spring, and Nemyria believes that Czech Republic will manage to strike a good balance between the interests of the EU`s various member states.
“I believe that the Czechs can contribute with a sober calculation,” he said. “They are not immediate neighbours but they know the region, so I think that they can explain that the Partnership is not just beneficial for Ukraine, but for the whole region.”
Nemyria also rebuffed the argument that the new programme would be a half-baked substitute for eventual EU membership for Ukraine. “Half-baked measures can be good, because that allows you to add things as time goes by,” he explained.
He underlined, for example, that he expects more money to fund the introduction of biometric forms of identification and infrastructure along Ukrainian borders as well as a strong emphasis on energy security and energy supplies. Potential investors are due to meet in the spring to consider funding to upgrade Ukrainian pipelines.