In Brussels, ForMin Melescanu emphasises importance of EU's Eastern Partnership

In Brussels on Tuesday, Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu attended a high-level conference of the European Union's Eastern Partnership that marked its 10th anniversary. According to a press statement released by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), the event - organised by the European Commission and the European External Action Service under the aegis of the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union - was designed as a convention for discussing the merits and the main achievements of the partnership in the 10 years of its existence and for launching a wide-ranging debate on the possibilities for further developing this important platform for co-operation between the EU and its Eastern partners. The event was attended by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, senior officials from the six partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), European commissioners and diplomatic, academic and civil society leaders. In his speech at the opening of the conference, Melescanu underscored the importance of the Eastern Partnership to strengthening the European Union's relations with its eastern neighbours, while pointing out the most relevant developments in this context and the partnership's benefits to the EU and the partner states alike. In relation to the main objectives of the Romanian presidency of the EU Council, Melescanu mentioned the implementation of concrete objectives included in the partnership agenda for 2020, focusing on connectivity in the digital, energy and transport sectors, promoting the benefits to the citizens and enhancing public and political support for this initiative. He emphasised that the 10th anniversary of the partnership "represents a maturing common effort that provides a solid framework for co-operation and supports the processes of modernisation and transformation in the eastern neighbourhood." Melescanu also referred to the need to broaden the debate on post-2020 prospects for the partnership, voicing support for a comprehensive and in-depth reflection process that would determine the common future strategic agenda that would motivate the partners to continue their efforts, to build closer ties with the EU, as well as capitalising on the opportunities offered that benefit the citizens. The Eastern Partnership is a top priority for the Romanian EU Council Presidency as part of the EU foreign policy agenda amidst the 10th anniversary of the initiative in May 2019. In this respect, the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council has taken the lead in supporting the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission (DGNEAR): promoting the concrete agenda of the Eastern Partnership for the 2020 horizon, focusing on connectivity issues; increasing the visibility of the initiative by organising public events (over 20 in the first half of 2019); initiating an in-depth reflection on the future of the partnership. These directions were presented by Minister Teodor Melescanu at an informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Bucharest, January 31 - February 1, 2019. Holding large anniversary events in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday was an objective supported by the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union as an important step in promoting the objectives of the partnership. AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Antonia Nita; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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