Enlargement and ENP remain key priorities

Sup­port for fur­ther enlarge­ments and for the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy (ENP) remain key pri­or­i­ties of the Pol­ish gov­ern­ment and the main polit­i­cal par­ties – includ­ing the oppo­si­tion. There is also a gen­er­al pub­lic opin­ion inter­est in devel­op­ing good rela­tions with all neigh­bours who are not mem­bers of the EU. Non-gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tions are deeply involved in aid for the devel­op­ment of democ­ra­cy in those coun­tries which were for­mer­ly mem­bers of the Sovi­et Union. On 27 Jan­u­ary 2010, For­eign Min­is­ter Radosław Siko­rs­ki deliv­ered the open­ing address at the Madrid sem­i­nar “The Future of the East­ern Part­ner­ship: Chal­lenges and Oppor­tu­ni­ties”. Min­is­ter Sikorski’s speech was fol­lowed by a meet­ing of for­eign min­is­ters from the Repub­lic of Poland, the King­dom of Spain and the Czech Repub­lic. The Madrid sem­i­nar, organ­ised joint­ly by the Span­ish Pres­i­den­cy, Poland and the Czech Repub­lic, reviewed the state of imple­men­ta­tion of the East­ern Part­ner­ship (EaP) in its bi- and mul­ti­lat­er­al dimen­sions, as well as exam­in­ing the chal­lenges ahead. The par­tic­i­pants also appraised the EaP’s devel­op­ment per­spec­tives and dis­cussed ways to fur­ther con­sol­i­date it through deep­er involve­ment of inter­na­tion­al finan­cial actors, pri­vate sec­tor insti­tu­tions and NGOs. The sem­i­nar was attend­ed by the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the EU mem­ber states, the six part­ner states (Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan, Belarus, Geor­gia, Moldo­va and Ukraine), EU insti­tu­tions, inter­na­tion­al finan­cial insti­tu­tions (the Euro­pean Bank for Recon­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment, the Euro­pean Invest­ment Bank, the World Bank) and Euro­pean think tanks. The next and more con­crete steps to pro­mote the real­i­sa­tion of the EaP’s aims were dis­cussed in Sopot, a Pol­ish Baltic Sea resort. On 24 May 2010, at the invi­ta­tion of Min­is­ter Siko­rs­ki, EU for­eign min­is­ters met in Poland for an EaP debate. First, the EaP was under­lined as the first com­pre­hen­sive ini­tia­tive to bring Arme­nia, Azer­bai­jan, Belarus, Geor­gia, Moldo­va and Ukraine clos­er to the EU. The ini­tia­tive aims to help those coun­tries inte­grate with the EU. “Poland has pro­posed to cre­ate a “group of friends” for the East­ern Part­ner­ship, bring­ing togeth­er coun­tries like Rus­sia that want to par­tic­i­pate in pro­grammes relat­ed to the Part­ner­ship and be informed about them”, Siko­rs­ki told reporters after an EU min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing on the EaP. The “group of friends” would also include “such coun­tries as Nor­way, Cana­da, the Unit­ed States and Japan as well as oth­ers”, he said. It is aimed at facil­i­tat­ing mul­ti-lat­er­al meet­ings, the pro­gres­sive lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of EU visa regimes and the cre­ation of a free-trade zone, as well as using EU funds for var­i­ous projects in the region. The Part­ner­ship is “every­thing except a ‘cor­don san­i­taire’ against Rus­sia”, France’s Euro­pean Affairs Min­is­ter Pierre Lel­louche told AFP after the meet­ing. It can be well seen that Poland wants to play a lead­ing role in devel­op­ing the EaP strat­e­gy and in its real­i­sa­tion. It is worth notic­ing that the Union for the Mediter­ranean is not per­ceived as a com­pet­i­tive but as a cohe­sive way of build­ing up com­mon EU rela­tions with its part­ners. For that rea­son, Poland sup­ports all Mediter­ranean projects, expect­ing in return sup­port from a major­i­ty of EU mem­bers for its efforts on the east­ern border.

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.