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EU to avoid membership talks at summit with eastern states, draft says

By Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s summit with the bloc’s eastern neighbors will confirm support for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in a bid to move closer to the bloc but make no promises on a position future EU membership, according to the draft final statement.

Partly overshadowed by the Belarus crisis, the EU summit on December 15 will bring together Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, with Minsk likely to be represented with a Belarusian flag and a chair empty, diplomats said.

The former Soviet republics of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine want to one day join the EU and cement their departure from Russia’s orbit. In July, the trio signed a joint statement to work together to integrate into the rich bloc.

An excerpt of a draft being discussed for next week’s summit, seen by Reuters, shows the EU will “take note of Europe’s aspirations and the European choice of partners concerned”.

It was also the language used in the final statement of the “Eastern Partnership” summit in 2017, despite the determination of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to accelerate market and economic reforms. block input. Georgia and Ukraine also aim to one day join the US-led NATO military alliance, although territorial conflicts with Russia complicate that.

With political hostility to immigration growing, the bloc is reluctant to expand despite the 1990s success of its program to make formerly communist countries like the Baltic states a member. EU.

ECONOMIC Integral

The six Balkan states of Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia have the official “position” of Europe – the EU code for eventual membership of the world’s largest trading bloc, despite This process has largely stalled.

To the Eastern Partner countries, the EU is providing money, technical assistance and broad market access, having made free trade agreements with Tbilisi, Chisnau and Kyiv, in exchange for adoption. democratic, administrative and economic rules of the EU.

The summit is likely to say that such free trade agreements “help promote political alignment and economic integration with the European Union”.

Despite the EU’s promises, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal told Reuters in Brussels last week that even steps towards integration worry Moscow, citing a Russian campaign to disrupt family dynamics. enter the bloc of Ukraine.

Moscow denies the allegations.

The summit statement will also open up the possibility of better future relations with Belarus “as soon as the necessary conditions are in place for a peaceful democratic transition”.

The Western and Belarusian opposition accuses President Alexander Lukashenko of rigging an August 2020 election to stay in power and sending Middle Eastern migrants to the Polish border in a “mixed attack”. to try to destabilize the EU.

Lukashenko says Western sanctions are an attack on his country and denies any wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Alex Richardson)

https://whbl.com/2021/12/09/eu-to-avoid-membership-talk-at-summit-with-eastern-states-draft-says/ EU to avoid membership talks at summit with eastern states, draft says

JACLYN DIAZ

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