Member of the European Parliament Urmas Paet said at the parliament’s foreign affairs committee meeting that if concrete decisions will not be taken at the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit, there is a risk of creating disappointment in Eastern Partnership countries, particularly in Ukraine and Georgia.
According to Paet the summit in Riga on 21 and 22 May can be successful only if concrete decisions are made concerning the future development of closer relations between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries, in particular Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
“We have to send a strong message by setting a specific date for visa liberalization, but at the moment it seems that we will not have this outcome from the summit. In addition there is no consensus in the EU concerning the EU perspective to Eastern Partnership countries. Therefore there is a significant risk that at an already difficult time, the Eastern Partnership summit will create disappointment, because nothing concrete is decided,” he added.
Paet stated that setting a date of visa liberalization for Ukraine and Georgia is of key importance. “Moldova attained a visa free travel regime to the European Union a year ago and during this time 75 000 Transnistrian residents have obtained Moldovan citizenship. This shows that visa liberalization with the EU has political influence,” he said.
Paet added that the EU has to be able to prevent the disappointment of the summit, and that the clearest way of doing that would be to make a decision regarding visa liberalization for Georgia and Ukraine. In addition, a consensus should be achieved concerning the EU perspective to Eastern Partnership countries.