Friday, November 29, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė together with the leaders of the EU and Eastern Partnership countries issued a declaration specifying the progress achieved in the past two years and setting further guidelines for the programme.

“Today nobody doubts that the Eastern partners and close cooperation with them is strategically important for the entire European Union. Four years ago, when they decided to take the European path, they chose economic and democratic development, respect for human rights, enhanced institutions. In the future, too, the European Union stands ready to support those countries that want such support,” the President said.

Over the past two years, significant progress has been made in different areas of the Eastern Partnership programme: visa liberalization, transport, energy, education and youth, environment and research, development of civil society. Cooperation ties – so important for the people of the partner countries – will be continued.

In the joint declaration, the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries have stated their determination to continue developing close relations and collaboration in strategically important fields. The goals set for the years ahead include the further advancement of democracy, ensuring respect for human rights and continuing judicial reforms. Primary focus will be placed on the implementation of association agreements with respective countries.

Essential progress in visa liberalization will also be on top of the programme’s future agenda.

The European Union will help its Eastern partners improve their capacity to compete on international markets – which would benefit the consumers as well as local and foreign investors. Public services will be upgraded and consumer protection will be made more effective in the course of implementing the projected reforms.

Energy interconnections will be remodeled and energy security will be mutually enhanced to gradually integrate Eastern partners into the EU energy internal market.

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