Washington D.C. – Ranking Member Eliot Engel, the senior Democratic Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bipartisan resolution with Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce; Europe Subcommittee Ranking Member William Keating; and Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Ted Poe supporting the European aspirations of countries from Eastern Europe and the Caucasus which are seeking to deepen their ties with the European Union (EU) through the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative.
“Countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia have the sovereign right to enter into partnerships of their choosing, and closer relations with Europe will greatly benefit these states and the wider region. This resolution makes clear that aspirant Eastern Partnership members must be allowed to exercise their sovereign rights. At the same time, the resolution stresses that while we applaud significant progress on reforms to date, we urge aspirant states to continue to adopt democratic norms and standards and to meet clear and essential conditions for closer economic and political ties with Europe,” said Engel.
The Eastern Partnership is an economic and political initiative of the European Union and partner nations to facilitate closer ties between the EU and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Eastern Partnership states include Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus. Ukraine may sign an Association Agreement with the EU, and Moldova and Georgia may initial their own Agreements, at the EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on November 28-29, 2013. These Agreements contain free trade and other provisions which will increase economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve the rule of law in the region. Over the last several months, Russia has sought to deter Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia from deepening their ties with the EU by impeding imports from these countries and threatening additional measures. At the same time, the EU and the U.S. have made clear that aspirant states must adopt democratic norms and standards in order to continue to integrate with Europe. In particular, the EU and U.S. have urged Ukrainian authorities to enact additional electoral and rule of law reforms, and to release imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko,
A link to the resolution can be found here.