EU leaders meet for eastern partnership summit in Latvia

European leaders meet in Riga to discuss 28 EU member state relations and eastern partnership policy

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

European Union (EU) leaders have meet in Riga the capital of Latvia on Friday for the second and final day of the summit meeting to discuss internal relations between the 28 member bloc and also EU’s eastern partnership policy.

The summit kicked off on May 21, with the participation of EU’s 28 member states and the six countries that are formally recognized as eastern partners: Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Moldova and Georgia.

The eastern partnership summit was first launched in 2009, in Prague, to bring eastern European partners closer to the EU.

However, speaking at the Berlin parliament before leaving for the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel clearly stated that the Eastern partnership is not an “instrument of enlargement politics for the European Union and we must not make promises that we can’t fulfill.”

Merkel added that “The Eastern Partnership is not aimed against anyone, especially not against Russia.”

Merkel also warned Russia over its stances and actions towards Ukraine and said Kremlin needs to be able to return back to the G8.

The group G8 refers to the eight countries - France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Canada and Russia who attended the annual meetings to discuss and agree on global issues.

She said “The developments in Ukraine are the reason that we will meet in Elmau as Group and not a Group of 8,” referring to the meetings next month in Germany without the presence of Russia.

"We see the G7 as a community of values. And that means working together for freedom, democracy, and for the rule of law. That means respecting the laws of nations and the territorial integrity of nations."

“Russia's actions in Ukraine are not compatible with that. A return to the G8 format is not imaginable as long as Russia doesn't act according to those basic values," said Merkel.

On Thursday, following Merkel’s comments, the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker said that the summit meeting be based on the membership and added that, “They are not ready, we are not ready.”

While, Georgia, Ukraine and specifically Moldova seek a more broad alliance as well as an eventual membership in the EU, Armenia and Belarus choose to narrow down relations with the bloc states by teaming up with Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.

Despite Merkel’s and Juncker’s statements, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite was hopeful that the EU would “stand by” countries “that are doing reforms and wish to be become European.”
The next summit is expected to take place in Brussels in 2017.

TRTWorld and agencies