The EU's Eastern neighbours should be bridge-builders23.10.2013
Tarja Cronberg, MEP (Greens):
The EU's Eastern neighbours should be bridge-builders
'The deepening of cooperation with the EU should not represent a binary choice for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. We want these countries to choose Europe, but we also have to bear in mind that the Europe that we want them to choose is not based on dividing lines', says Tarja Cronberg.
In her speech in the European parliament session in Strasbourg on a resolution on the Eastern neighbourhood policy Cronberg stressed that the EU is not building an exclusive club. By bringing Ukraine and other neighbours closer to the EU through partnership and association agreements, they get an advantage of being bridge-builders between Europe and their own neighbours such as Russia or Belarus.
An EU-summit in November in Vilnius, Lithuania, will be dedicated to Europe’s Eastern neighbourhood. The resolution recalls that a commitment to the association agreements and the free trade agreements precludes any other simultaneous form of participation in a customs union. However, there should be an option to choose other preferred economic relations in order not to build clear conflicting lines, argues Tarja Cronberg.
'We want a strong commitment to democratic reform from our Eastern neighbours. If we want to talk in terms of making a choice, there should be no other choice for the Eastern neighbours but moving resolutely towards rule of law, fight with corruption, judicial reform and civil society ', Cronberg says. 'But these countries should decide for themselves how they want to develop economic relations with their neighbours'.
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