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"Eastern Partnership Plan" endorsed at the EU summit in Bruxelles

The European Council endorsed on June 20 the "Eastern Partnership Plan" which aims to further promote regional cooperation between the EU and its eastern neighbours. The Eastern Partnership plan is an offer of deeper cooperation to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus, provided that the latter implements domestic reforms.

Poland and Sweden, co-authors of the project whose text is to be worked out by March 2009, expect the Eastern Partnership to become a forum of multilateral cooperation with regular meetings at government level. Varsaw and Stockholm also hope the Eastern Partnership could prepare the countries for eventual EU membership.

The EU's eastern neighbours have already links to Brussels through the bilateral European Neighbourhood Policy, which offers countries better trade access, economic assistance and visa liberalisation as they gradually make progress on their way to adopting EU standards.