Bulgarian Foreign Minister Zaharieva Participates in Batumi International Conference

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Zaharieva Participates in Batumi International Conference

July 11 (BTA) - "The countries from the Eastern
Partnership have achieved significant results but there is more
to be done. The partners should continue moving forward but the
European Union should also have a vision for the future of the
Eastern Partnership - what will follow after 2020," Bulgarian
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva
said Thursday, cited by her Ministry. She is taking part in the
16th Batumi International Conference Dedicated to the 10th
Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership in Georgia.

The forum gathered senior politicians from EU Member States and
from the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) partner countries, as
well as representatives of the business, the academic circles
and the non-governmental sector. Ekaterina Zaharieva discussed
the achievements and European future of the EaP countries with
her counterparts from Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic.

"The Eastern Partnership is a very good goodneighbourly
initiative aimed at building bridges and increasing connectivity
 between the countries," Zaharieva noted, adding that the
initiative changed the mentality of these countries but that
they still face the challege of building stability within their

Among the achievements of the EaP, Zaharieva underlined the
Association Agreement/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area
Agreement signed in 2014 between the EU and three of the partner
 countries, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as the
partnership agreements with Armenia and Azerbaijan. She also
emphasized on the waived visas for the citizens of Moldova,
Georgia and Ukraine, and the relaxed visa regime for those of
Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"Trade between the EU and the EaP partners has strongly
increased in the past years, and thousands of young people from
these countries received their education in the EU," Minister
Zaharieva recalled. She noted the key importance of teaching
young people critical thinking for the development of democracy.
 "We must fight every day for democracy. The EU is the best
place for living but we must do more, and young people have a
very important role for this," she said.

Zaharieva pointed out that Bulgaria is a strong supporter of the
 EU expansion and that it depends not only on the EU but also on
 the countries that apply for membership. She also noted
Georgia's serious progress in the past years, outlining the
importance of a justice reform and the development of civil
society for the country's progress on its path to European
integration. LI/TH

Source: Batumi