Zaorálek wants EU to change stance on post-Soviet countries

Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, seen here with the chairman of the Crimean Tatar People, Mustafa Dzhemilev, says the European Union has to meet its obligations when it comes to helping Central and East European nations integrate into Europe. Photo: Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry.
+/- FONT:

Foreign affairs minister says the union has to meet its financial obligations to help region integrate

Prague, April 24 (ČTK) — The Eastern Partnership project of cooperation between the European Union and six post-Soviet republics should be transformed, and the European Union should approach these countries on a more individual basis, Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (Social Democrats, ČSSD) told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) today.

The EU should not use the same model as during the accession of the Czech Republic and other Central and East European countries, Zaorálek said ahead of the summit on the occasion of the Eastern Partnership's fifth anniversary held at Prague Castle, the presidential seat, today and Friday.

 

The Eastern Partnership project, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, was launched in Prague during the Czech EU presidency in 2009. Its aim was to extend cooperation with them and help bring them politically and economically closer to the EU.

However, the project has turned into "a preparatory school" for their EU entry in the first five years, Zaorálek said.

He criticized the EU for applying the same principles as to the Central and East European countries in the past, such as an association agreement.

The EU demands for reforms connected with the association agreement have launched transformation processes in these countries that require up to 10 times more financial means than the EU is willing to spend, Zaorálek said.

"If we are launching such fundamental changes in society, we must also calculate their social and economic impacts on these countries," he told ČTK.

This is why the Eastern Partnership should be transformed, and less bureaucratic procedures should be used in relation to the post-Soviet region, he said.

He added that he considers the current crisis in Ukraine a consequence of the mistakes the EU committed in its approach to Kiev.

"The Ukrainian crisis was caused by Russia, but Moscow used the mistakes we committed [to its advantage]. It deliberately interfered in the processes that we started and torpedoed them," Zaorálek said.

However, he stressed that the EU was not to blame for the situation in Ukraine and its economic problems.

This is why Zaorálek considers a two-day meeting of the presidents and high-ranking representatives of Central and Eastern European countries at Prague Castle and the Friday conference on Eastern Partnership to be held at the Foreign Ministry's office an opportunity to ponder over these mistakes and the continuation of the project.

The EU will be represented by the European commissioner for enlargement and European neighborhood policy, Czech Štefan Füle. This is why the press has sometimes challenged the summit's significance. Zaorálek dismissed these opinions.

He said the summit was a good idea, and he appreciated President Miloš Zeman, who has been a longtime rival, hosting it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Log in  \/ 
Register  \/ 

The BIG Stories

MfD: Czech pub killer changed after losing job
26 Feb 2015 16:00 - Czech News Agency

Reports say Zdeněk K. was only seen by neighbors once or twice a year since 1990s

Ministry: Doctors may get access to gun registry
26 Feb 2015 10:13 - Czech News Agency

Stricter rules are being debated in wake of Czech mass shooting in a pub

Czech PM shocked by mass killing in Uherský Brod
24 Feb 2015 19:00 - Czech News Agency

Politicians react to death of eight victims plus the gunman in Moravian town

Multiple dead in Czech restaurant shooting
24 Feb 2015 15:24 - Czech News Agency

No motive yet for gunman opening fire in Uherský Brod

MfD: Czechs delivered weapons to Ukraine last year...
19 Feb 2015 10:00 - Czech News Agency

Ministries deny that lethal arm shipments took place and claim policy is tough and restrictive

Search for a word in the Macmillan Dictionaries Online simply by double-clicking on a word on the page.

The NEW Stuff

Photo: Association for the Construction of the Statue of Václav Havel. Petřín Hill seems most likely, but issues remain before unveiling, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 17
‘Psychiatry has a term for such compartmentalizing of otherwise alarming and revealing fractures: dissociation’