Members of the Saeima are in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, attending an event aimed at assessing the results of the recent Eastern Partnership summit. During the event, the Latvian representatives stressed the importance of close cooperation, support and honest communication for Eastern Partnership countries, noting that such a focus paves the way to ever closer integration with the European Union for the partner countries.
The MPs highlighted that the Eastern Partnership Summit, which took place in Brussels at the end of November 2017, is a true success story. An agreement was reached on the Summit Declaration detailing 20 deliverables that are to serve as a game-plan for closer integration with the EU of the Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The MPs remarked that what the people of the partner countries need most are practical results.
“Each member state sees their most important points in the declaration, and it will serve as a roadmap for the future,” said Lolita Čigāne, Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima. She added: “Latvia and the Baltic States will not allow the Eastern Partnership to drift off of the EU agenda. We are a sort of bridge to the rest of the EU member states in explaining the significance of the Eastern Partnership policy, because we best understand the need for these countries to stay on the road towards the EU and its values.”
Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima, emphasised that it is also meaningful that various additional events focusing on practical cooperation took place during the Eastern Partnership summit, such as the Media Conference and the Civil Society Conference.
Kalniņš also noted that support for combatting fake news and hybrid threats is especially important for the Eastern Partnership countries. “These are challenges not only for the partner countries, but the entire EU; therefore, it is crucial that we all maintain a coordinated position in addressing them,” the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee said.
When discussing the future of the Eastern Partnership policy, the participants of the result assessment meeting emphasised that all of the partner countries must remain on their course to reform.
Lolita Čigāne stated that it is equally important to maintain individualised approach to each partner country in order to tailor the extent of cooperation to the preferences of each partner.
The meeting organised in Tbilisi by the Saeima and the Embassy of Latvia to Georgia was also attended by parliamentarians of the Eastern Partnership countries; Juris Poikāns, Latvian ambassador to Ukraine; Kai Kaarelson, Estonian ambassador to Georgia; and Kornely Kakachia, Executive Director of the Georgian Institute of Politics.
The tradition to assess the results of the annual Eastern Partnership summit at parliamentary level was established upon the initiative of the Saeima during Latvia’s presidency of the Council of the EU.
Lolita Čigāne, Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Saeima, Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Artis Rasmanis, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, are currently visiting Tbilisi. While there, they are also attending a strategic discussion on security and defence issues organised by the Chancellery of the President of Georgia, as well as an international parliamentary conference EU and Partners: Embracing Diversity for Stronger Unity organised by the parliament of Georgia.
Saeima Press Service