BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, June 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Yesterday's seminar entitled "The European Neighbourhood Policy- Eastern Dimension: Progress with Reforms" taking place at the Representation of European Commission in Bratislava aimed to analyse the comparative progress of the six Eastern Neighbourhood countries with reforms, discussing areas of difficulty and exploring what priorities need to be addressed in the run-up to the Eastern Partnership Summit scheduled for November in Vilnius.
Hosted by the Danube- EU Business Council, the seminar reflected many of the arguments heard on the 20 March European Parliament's Budgetary Committee hearing on "Financing of the Eastern Partnership", during which the Commission presented an assessment of progress in relations with the countries in the European Union's neighbourhood, covering reforms and progress on trade relations - many of which were highly criticized by experts and MEPs.
Riccardo Migliori, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE, opened the discussion by presenting the framework of the Eastern Partnership Policy and highlighting the main problems facing the six countries such as Moldova, which struggle with tackling rule of law, corruption and human trafficking - issues that still present big obstacles for further progress. He emphasised the need for these countries to combat issues, but also the fact that the OSCE must take strong action in governance for any real hope of EU integration.
Peter Lizak, Director of Department of Analyses and Planning at the Slovakian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasised the hope that lies in Vilnius in November for the six ENP members and their dependence on organisations such as the OSCE to help prevent and solve conflicts, but maintained that there is "a huge question mark over the future of the ENP and the result of the Summit especially in regards to signing the Association Agreement for Ukraine. Furthermore, there needs to be a wider consensus on where these countries want to go."
Expressing his concerns over the prematureness of EU policies, Alexander Duleba, Director of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, argued that there was a need for countries to move ahead with relations with the EU but we would "need to be sure they are ready to do so." Duleba further added that "the EU needs to be sure that the ENP countries can sustain the tools given to them, countries such as Moldova and Georgia will have major issues with implementation."
Another issue in the agenda was one of Ukraine. Duleba said he believed Ukraine was the only one of the six which would be ready to sign the Association Agreement with the EU in November however; it would only be possible with the release of Julia Tymoshenko - an unresolved issue for the country which still presents an obstacle for its further EU integration. Helena Dyachenko, a political analyst from Ukraine agreed that Ukraine should not miss out on Vilnius and that the country had huge obligations for the Association Agreement. She also said that Tymoshenko's imprisonment had a huge impact on EU integration.
Summarising the conference, moderator Zuzana Zavodska reiterated the importance of the Vilnius Summit's' outcome and the questions concerning what may happen if the countries involved are not able to implement the relevant policies. Nevertheless, Vilnius will allow an opportunity to showcase how and to what extent have the 6 ENP members adopted their proposed roadmap of reforms.
Other panellists involved Olga Nachtamannova, MP of National Council for the Slovak Republic and Committee for European Affairs member.
The Danube Business Council offers membership to individuals, companies, organizations and institutions which have an interest in the economic and social development of the Danube region and who want to be better informed about how to play their part in implementing the Strategy, especially by partner search and networking. It will seek to be complementary to the work done by national and local governments, by concentrating essentially on networking and business to business contacts.
You can contact the Danube Business Council by visiting our website at http://www.danubebusinesscouncil.org
SOURCE EU- Danube Business Council