Poland suggested a visa-free regime for Eastern Partnership countries
Tightening the cooperation with the eastern and southern neighbours of the European Union will be discussed at the next meeting organised jointly by the Sejm and the Senate as part of the parliamentary dimension of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. The Conference of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairpersons (COFACC), attended by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union Catherine Ashton, is scheduled to start next Sunday (4 September). On Monday (5 September), the inter-parliamentary debate will be opened by the Marshal of the Sejm Grzegorz Schetyna.
The European Union’s activities within the framework of the Eastern Partnership aimed to promote stabilisation and democratisation in the neighbourhood areas reflect the solidarity of the European societies with the states that have embarked upon the system transformation process. The cooperation involving support to democratic transformations and building modern state structures in the partner countries will strengthen the functioning of the united Europe.
During the conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski will present the current foreign policy under the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. Europe’s obligations in the context of the Eastern policy will be overviewed by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Sejm Andrzej Halicki. He will also deal with the issue of the future of COFACC. The situation in the North African countries and related challenges for the European Union will be discussed by the Marshal of the Senate Bogdan Borusewicz and by the Deputy Secretary General for the EU External Action Service Maciej Popowski.
The Eastern Partnership is the European Union’s initiative inaugurated on 7 May 2009 in Prague, addressed to its eastern neighbours. Enhanced political and social/economic integration with the EU structures is the principal objective of the Partnership which involves six states of Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. A proposal for the project was presented by Poland, the principal originator, and Sweden at the European Council summit in June 2008. The EU values, such as freedom, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights provide a basis for cooperation under the Eastern Partnership initiative
The forms of the partner states’ integration with the European Union include the tightening of bilateral cooperation through measures such as supporting reforms, entering into association agreements, creating free trade zones and visa liberalisation with a view to finally establishing a visa-free regime. Multilateral cooperation is also envisaged on four platforms: democracy, good governance and stability; economic integration and convergence with EU policies; energy security; and contacts between people.
Arising from the idea of Eastern Partnership, the prospect of civilisation leap and achievement of stability and welfare which has opened up for the partner states is to encourage them to modernise their economies and create democratic institutions. The European Union provides the Partnership states not only with experience in developing a civil society, but also with financial support.