April 1, 2011

Eastern Partnership Funding Fails to Meet Recipients' Expectations - Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman

Chisinau, March 31 ( INFOTAG ). The current financing of the Eastern Partnership Program does not actually meet recipient countries' expectations, Moldovan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Natalia Gherman stated at the EU - Moldova Forum being held in Chisinau.
She asked European Union officials to take this opinion into consideration at shaping and approving the Eastern Partnership funding plan for next 7 years. 
Gherman voiced pity that due to the continuing conflicts in northern Africa, an idea appeared to redistribute Program means in a new way - depending on country population size.

"But this is an erroneous approach. Financial assistance size should depend on countries' successes reached. European funds should be available to countries really deserving this - countries working hard to implement democratic reforms, such as, e.g., Moldova", said Natalia Gherman. 

The Deputy Foreign Minister voiced regret that due to limited financial and organizational resources, the Republic of Moldova fails to avail itself of all existing Program projects and has to restrict itself only to those projects which can help implement the Association Agreement with the EU. 

"For us, however, quality is the first what matters, not the quantity of projects we take part in. That's exactly why Moldova has become a leader in the Eastern Partnership", presumes the Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister. 

Member of the Ukrainian Supreme Rada [parliament] Sergei Grinevetski thinks the European Union uses double standards in its external policies. 

He stated, "The Eastern Partnership is an unclear platform for cooperation. This Project has no financial covering because a 600-million-euro assistance for 6 countries is a drop in the ocean". 

Infotag's dossier: The Eastern Partnership Initiative, put forward by Poland and Sweden in the spring of 2008, envisages the European Union's approximation with its eastern neighbors - Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorsky then called it "a practical and ideological continuation of the EU European Neighborhood Policy". Launched in full in May 2009 upon its signing by the countries concerned, the Eastern Partnership Program focuses on the following three main directions: creation of a free trade zone, preparation for the introduction of a visa-free regime at travelling to European states, and linking the Program countries to the European energy system. 

Participation in the Program does not envisage an automatic admittance to the European Union - it only presupposes a political and economic approximation to it. 

The Eastern Partnership Program has a budget of some 600 million euros. By year 2014, approximately 350 million euros is going to be used for multilateral projects, 175 million euros - for reforms in the countries concerned, and 75 million euros - for regional development projects. In 2009 and 2010, the European Union furnished 41 million euros for mm, within the Eastern Partnership framework.