The Eastern Partnership is a major pillar of Czech policy, the Czechs almost regard it as one of their EU ‘babies’ after the accord, with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, was signed in Prague in May 2009 during the Czech EU presidency. Sweden and Poland, also enthusiastic backers of the concept of encouraging EU ties, economic and democratic development in the former Soviet states, would probably also claim some parenthood for the partnership, Radio Praha writes.
Heads of government, including Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, are being called on to agree a 20 point programme to strengthen the current partnership goals. These should flesh out the existing priority targets of encouraging economic development and market opportunities; strengthening institutions and good governance; bosting transport links, energy efficiency, and climate change; and paving the way for more two-way mobility and people-to-people contacts. The delivery target is for 2020.
The partnership could be summed up as opening the door for deeper EU cooperation though falling short of a promise of eventual EU membership. To what degree the strengthened ties open the door to EU membership has been a matter of contention within the EU itself.
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