2017 EU Eastern Partnership Summit

Bishops call on EU to shore up “security, peace and sustainable development” in neighbour countries to the East

The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) is looking for the EU to strengthen its partnership with its six neighbouring countries to the East: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The big picture

2019 marks the ten-year anniversary of the launching of the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, which has as its principal goal the “stabilisation and resilience” of the six Eastern post-Soviet states, according to a European Commission website.

Also at the centre of the Eastern Partnership program are the 20 “key deliverables” for 2020, a set of policy objectives aimed at building up stronger societies, economies, governance and connectivity in the region.

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Driving the news

In the context of the tenth anniversary of the Eastern Partnership, COMECE said in a statement Thursday that it plans to review the state of EU diplomacy and policy in the partner countries.

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That will be at the forthcoming Autumn meeting of the COMECE Commission on EU External Affairs, to be held with EU officials September 30 and October 1.

The meeting will be particularly focused on “ways to empower youth, families and local communities”, the EU Bishops’ delegation added.

More on COMECE on Novena

Go deeper

But looking ahead to the next stage of the Eastern Partnership – due to be sketched out by the European Commission and the European External Action Service by early 2020 – COMECE said future EU policy in the region must go “beyond” the 2020 deliverables.

“The priority should be the empowerment of young people, families and local communities at all levels of economic, social and political life”, COMECE said.

The EU Bishops’ body added that “a renewed Eastern Partnership should be based on an inclusive engagement of all parts of society as key to address common challenges to human security, peace and sustainable development”.

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