Brussels (B), 28 November 2013
The Eastern Partnership, being discussed at the current summit of Heads of States taking place in Vilnius (LT), has been the European Union’s uttermost important foreign Policy initiative for the last months. Many hopes have been put into this summit, foreseeing it to be the event, shaping relations between the EU and its Eastern Neighbours for the next decade.
However, Ukraine’s decision of last week to suspend its plans to sign far-reaching political and trade agreements with the European Union, is putting the whole summit into question. While Ukrainians demonstrate on the streets, the EU is looking for adequate responses to the situation.
“Although we regret that the Association Agreement will not be signed, we, the Assembly of European Regions, will not stop our strong cooperation initiated with our Ukrainian member regions and friends since 1992” stated Dr Hande Özsan Bozatli, AER President.
In fact, even before the Eastern Partnership was launched, AER was acting as a bridge between Western and Eastern European regions. Independently of the outcome of the Vilnius summit, AER will further cooperate with its Ukrainian, Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Moldovan and Russian member regions.
Regions have an important role to play when it comes to territorial diplomacy, people to people contacts, exchange of concrete best practices in areas of daily relevance to the citizens. AER is therefore even more keen on promoting regionalism and strong political subsidiarity and ownership, as well as the bottom-up approach in the Eastern Neighbourhood. Whether agreements are signed or not, AER will pursue its efforts to establish a bridge between Europe and Ukraine in order to obtain concrete results at social, economic and human level.
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