Brussels, Nov 24 (CTK) – The Eastern Partnership (EaP) aims to contribute to the development, stability and prosperity of East European countries, but Russia does not seem to like the project, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists after the 5th Eastern Partnership summit on Friday.
“Several countries of the Eastern Partnership are under pressure from Russia and, frankly speaking, the Russians do not seem to want the project to be developing,” he said.
Sobotka said participation in the EaP does not replace accession talks that all possible candidates for EU membership must undergo.
The perspective of EaP members joining the European Union is a very sensitive issue, he said.
Eastern Partnership focuses on the relations between the EU and six East European countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The project has been one of the priorities of the Czech foreign policy. The Czech Republic contributed to its creation and hosted its first summit in 2009.
The declaration on which the EaP and EU members agreed on Friday acknowledges the European aspirations of the East European states, however, it says the extent, depth and speed of the reforms and cooperation with the EU is given by the ambitions and needs of the partners.
The declaration also expressed concern over violations of international law in many areas of the East European region.
Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine want closer association with the EU.
European Council President Donald Tusk who headed the summit said he hoped for a more ambitious declaration than is the final text.
He said frozen and armed conflicts continued hampering the development and caused troubles in the EaP countries.
Even before the summit, the EU representatives emphasised that the EaP project does not mean any binary choice. Tusk said the EaP was no beauty contest between Russia and the EU.