At Bled Strategic Forum ForMin Aurescu speaks about protracted conflicts in Black Sea region, EaP

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu participated today in the 16th Bled Strategic Forum - Slovenia, where he was invited to speak at the panel on "EU's Challenging Eastern Partnership Summit 2021: Calibrating its Agenda". In his intervention, Aurescu referred to the challenges faced by both the European Union and its Eastern Neighborhood, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the consequences of pre-existing negative phenomena such as economic and social disparities, migration, conflicts and democratic deficits, the Foreign Ministry said in a release. Against this background, the Romanian top diplomat stressed that the European Union has a duty to strengthen its profile as an influential global actor by supporting the democratic transformation processes and increasing the resilience of the Eastern Neighborhood states. Minister Aurescu called for the revitalization and streamlining of the Eastern Partnership (EaP), by assuming a strategic vision regarding the EU's long-term commitment in support of the Eastern Neighborhood states, through a set of concrete and ambitious goals of the Partnership for the post-2020 period. Minister Bogdan Aurescu also expressed his confidence that the Joint Declaration to be adopted on the occasion of the EaP Summit due in December 2021 will confirm the EU's strong support for the states in the region, including by opening new possibilities for deepening cooperation with partner states that show a high level of ambition in the relationship with the EU and that record substantial results in the implementation of structural reforms. He also called for the recognition of the European perspective of these states, highlighting the transformative power of the EU accession process. The Romanian ForMin also underscored the importance of the EU taking a more active commitment to resolving protracted conflicts in the wider Black Sea region, which affect five of the six Eastern Partnership states. In this thread, the speaker stressed that these conflicts pose a major risk to the stability and security of the entire region, as well as to Euro-Atlantic security, given the high degree of unpredictability and destabilizing potential they entail, as well as their negative impact on the capacity of the states affected by this type of conflict to implement the structural reforms that are key for democratization and modernization, but also to make strategic decisions for their own future. Minister Aurescu underscored the need for the EU to support the Republic of Moldova, which has a unique chance after the early elections this July to reform deeply, in a European spirit, thus meeting the expectations of the Moldovan citizens. This forum session was also attended by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, exiled leader of the Belarusian opposition, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek, Katarina Mathernova - Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Department for neighborhood and enlargement, and Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Teimuraz Janjalia. The Bled Strategic Forum is a major annual meeting of European and international leaders in the government and private sectors. The event has established itself, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, as a key platform for high-level debates, seeking to provide strategic answers to current regional and global issues. The theme of this year's edition of the Bled Strategic Forum was 'The Future of Europe'. AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Florin Marin; EN - editor: Simona Klodnischi)

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