Strasbourg, 20 May 2015
To the Heads of State and Government of the European Union
As Members of the European Parliament, we should like to take this opportunity to underline the importance of the decisions to be taken during the Eastern Partnership Summit on 21-22 May 2015 in Riga. Referring to the letter of the Bureau of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly of 13 May 2015, we call on the Heads of State and Government of the European Union to reaffirm their commitment to the Eastern Partnership policy. Our conviction is that the Eastern Partnership represents a highly effective stimulus in furthering democratic change and the process of reform in the partner countries in Eastern Europe. In this regard, we remain optimistic that the Riga Declaration will build on the considerable progress already made during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius of 2013 and will clear the way for further significant progress.
In particular, we believe that the Riga Summit Declaration should be clear, strong and forward looking and should concentrate, amongst other things, on a further progress and high ambitions of three Associated Partners of the EU — Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Firstly, the European Union’s commitment to the Eastern Partnership is all the more urgent given that, over the last three years, Russia has placed enormous military, political, economic and propaganda pressure on Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. We are convinced that the declaration that follows the Riga Summit should represent an unequivocal and determined expression of the European Union’s solidarity with and support for these countries and their pro-European agendas.
This supposes that the Riga Summit Declaration will go beyond the furthering of economic ties as already laid out in the associated agreements between the European Union and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine respectively. Whilst it is certainly desirable to foster trade with these countries, the European aspirations of these countries requires a more ambitious response. Consequently, in line with the provisions of Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union, we believe that the European Union should send a positive signal with regard to these countries future membership in the European Union. Opening the perspective of such membership would represent a significant incentive to further democratic reforms as well as sending an appropriate and powerful signal in the currently strained geopolitical situation.
Secondly, we also believe that the process of visa liberalisation remains an additional, powerful means of facilitating positive democratic change and a catalyst for the reform process in the countries concerned. Following a decision taken at the Vilnius Summit of 2013 in response to the progress made by the Moldovan authorities, Moldovan citizens are now able to travel without visas throughout the Schengen Area. In light of the many positive consequences of this decision, we urge the Heads of State and Government of the European Union, during their meeting in Riga, to commit to extending the visa-free regime to the citizens of Georgia and Ukraine. In particular, the European Union should set definite deadlines for the completion of the action plans for visa liberalisation (VLAP) of Georgia and Ukraine.
It is our conviction that adopting these two measures is in the mutual interest of the European Union and its three Associated Partners and will represent significant progress for all parties concerned. For this reason, we look forward to seeing decisive action during the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga with a view to visa liberalisation for Georgia and Ukraine and the opening of a European perspective for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Ramona Nicole Mănescu
Anna Maria Corazza Bildt
Cristian Dan Preda
Svetoslav Hristov Malinov
Ioan Mircea Pașcu
Anna Elżbieta Fotyga
Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu
Izaskun Bilbao Barandica
Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea
Danuta Maria Hübner
José Inácio Faria