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ForMin Aurescu: EU cannot afford to distance itself from strategic commitment to Eastern Neighborhood partners


The EU cannot afford to distance itself from its strategic commitment to partners in the Eastern Neighborhood, but should support democratic transformation in the region, Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Monday.

The head of the Romanian diplomacy participated as a keynote speaker, together with his Spanish counterparts, Arancha Gonzalez Laya and Polish, Zbigniew Rau, in the webinar on "The European Union and its neighborhoods in a post-pandemic world", organized by the Spanish think-tank the Royal Elcano Institute, announces the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE).

He emphasized, in this context, the importance of the EU taking on an influential role in its own neighborhood, by projecting security and democratic values, in order to be a credible player globally.

"In this challenging context, the EU cannot afford to distance itself from its strategic commitment to its Eastern Neighborhood partners. On the contrary, when faced with such hostility in the region, the EU should make more efforts, not fewer, in order to collaborate with its partners and to support the democratic transformation in the region," the Romanian minister stated in his address.

Thus, Bogdan Aurescu underlined the need for a solid commitment of the European Union in support of the Neighboring States, focused on identifying adequate responses to the security challenges in the region and on a substantial contribution to the regulation of prolonged conflicts.

"We need to develop concrete tools for the EU to have the leverage to provide solutions to protracted conflicts, obviously based on international law. We need to pay attention again to this issue and recognize once again the importance of the EU maintaining a vigilant role. In this case, in light of the strategic objective of consolidating the global vocation of the Union," he pointed out.

Referring to the issue of the Western Balkans, the head of the Romanian diplomacy highlighted the indisputable role that the European enlargement policy played on maintaining and consolidating the pro-European orientation of the states in the region. In this context, he stressed the need to anchor the Western Balkans even more firmly on the European path, through the decisive implementation of the commitments made by the states in the region in the framework of European integration processes.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also called for special attention to be paid to strengthening the European commitment to the EU's Eastern Neighborhood, which faces multiple and serious challenges, which hinder the advancement of the stabilization and democratic transformation processes of states in the region. Against this background, the head of Romanian Diplomacy stressed the need to make the Eastern Partnership more efficient and dynamic, by assuming a long-term strategic vision of the European Union for the Eastern Neighborhood States, together with an ambitious set of concrete Partnership objectives for the post-2020 period.

He expressed optimism that a Joint Declaration will be adopted at the forthcoming Eastern Partnership Summit, conveying a strong political message on the unequivocal support of the EU for the states in this region, with pragmatic objectives and in line with this degree of ambition. He also stressed that the commitment and constructive approach of the partners will contribute to the success of this event.

The Foreign Minister also argued for expanding EU cooperation with the most advanced partner states - Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine - including in terms of security, as well as for continuing EU support for partner countries to manage the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also underlined the importance of the reflection process launched at Romania's initiative and that of 10 other EU member states, regarding the assumption, by the European Union, of a more active commitment regarding the settlement of the prolonged conflicts in the Eastern Neighborhood.

In this context, the Minister of Foreign Affairs evoked the results of the recent Romania - Poland - Turkey Trilateral format meeting on security issues, to which the foreign ministers of Georgia and Ukraine were invited for the first time in this format to address security issues and recent developments in the Black Sea region. He recalled that this meeting was an opportunity to reaffirm support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia and Ukraine, within the internationally recognized borders of the two states, as well as for the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the two partners.