The leaders of the EU, of the EU member states and of the Eastern Partnership countries met for the sixth Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on Wednesday. The eastern partners present at the summit were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
The leaders emphasised their joint determination to uphold the fundamental values they share, such as strengthening democracy and the rule of la and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.
Tensions with Russia loomed large however as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged EU leaders to impose preemptive sanctions on Russia as a way of thwarting any potential military attack that may be coming its way. His plea comes amid a large mobilization of Russian forces along the Ukrainian border. “Our very first call is on Russia to de-escalate but we are also prepared for any increasing aggression from Russia side,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said after the talks.
The leaders of France and Germany sought to revive talks under the so-called “Normandy Format”, which also includes Russia and is aimed at implementing the Minsk II peace accords to end the war in Ukraine’s East. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron each met bilaterally with Zelenskiy as well as all together in a group. The three leaders reaffirmed their commitment to this format of negotiations in order to find a lasting solution for the conflict
Overall EU leaders welcomed the agreements the eastern partners and the EU have concluded or are presently negotiating, namely:
- the full entry into force of the Association Agreements (AAs) and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) with Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine
- the entry into force of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the EU and Armenia in March 2021
- the progress in the negotiations between the EU and Azerbaijan on a new comprehensive agreement