The Assembly of European Regions (AER), together with the Ukrainian Region of Dnipropetrovsk, organised last 26 April 2013 a conference which gathered 150 European, national and regional political representatives. The purpose of this gathering was to discuss how interregional cooperation can be boosted in the context of the ‘Eastern Partnership’, the Eastern dimension of the European Union Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The conference also looked ahead at the 3rd Eastern Partnership Summit to be held in Vilnius (LT) in November this year to raise awareness about the future of the Eastern Partnership.
Participants adopted a Statement in which they urge European and national leaders not to miss the opportunity to reinforce the Eastern Partnership during the forthcoming Summit: the Eastern Partnership initiative, as the Eastern dimension of the neighbourhood policy, should absolutely be further developed as a priority of the EU foreign policy.
AER also ask for the full recognition of the role regional governments play in implementing the goals of the Eastern Partnership roadmaps and action plans, as it is the regional level which is crucial when it comes to the socio-economic development of the territories. ”Since the early 1990s’, AER has established cooperation with regions of Eastern Partnership countries. We provide a platform for concrete cooperation between regions, including the exchange of know-how and good practices, the promotion of good governance, and people to people exchanges,” stated Mrs Hande ÖZSAN BOZATLI, President of AER Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and International cooperation. “We invite the EU to benefit of our long experience and we put our network at its disposal to further develop the regional dimension of the Eastern Partnership Initiative” she added.
The Head of Dnipropetrovsk region Dmitriy KOLESNIKOV underlined that this AER meeting in Dnipropetrovsk, granted the regions with the opportunity to better understand each other and reinforce the links between them. “The exchange of knowledge through a platform such as AER accelerates the integration process between regions from the Eastern Partnership and the EU. I am convinced that this was an excellent opportunity to discover Dnipropetrovsk and to have a fresh look at Ukraine. Moreover, it will allow to expand cooperation in social, cultural and educational matters”.