Carl Bildt on the Eastern Partnership

Here the Foreign Minister of Sweden writes on the need for a “reset” on RealClearWorld:

The Swedish Presidency, together with the European Commission, intends to organise the first meeting of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum this autumn. We hope to see the start of parliamentary cooperation, as well as exchanges between local and regional authorities of the 33 EU and partner countries. At the end of the year, a meeting of EU foreign ministers and their colleagues from the six partners will assess the progress made so far and give guidance on the way ahead.

The Eastern Partnership is about EU integration, about the six countries moving closer to the EU’s values, legislation, and ways of working, and about the EU being there to support and help this convergence. In Russia, there is a perception that is sometimes fostered which suggests that the partnership is directed against it. But this, of course, is untrue. On the contrary, Russia, like Turkey, will be welcome to take part in relevant activities within the Partnership’s multilateral dimensions.

The Eastern Partnership is not an answer to all the problems and difficulties that the six partners are facing. Nevertheless, it does represent a clear commitment by the EU to lend its political and economic support to their transition and reform – a process that should bring prosperity and stability to the whole region.