Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova hope Associated Trio to strengthen cooperation with EU in security, defense – FMs joint statement
Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova hope that the format of the Associated Trio will strengthen cooperation with the EU in the security and defense sectors as well as help find new tools for deepening economic integration, according to a joint statement by Foreign Ministers of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba; Georgia David Zalkaliani and Moldova Aureliu Ciocoi eleased by the Euractiv publication.
"Seven years ago, on June 27, 2014, out counties – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – took a historic and decisive step towards their European future as they signed the Association Agreements with the European Union [...] Since then, the Associated Partners have been gradually and steadily implementing the agreements. We have reached tangible progress reforming public administration, liberalizing trade, transforming transport and energy, developing people-to-people contacts through visa liberalization, promoting environmental agenda, enhancing security," the FMs said in the joint statement.
The ministers said that strengthening democracies and the rule of law, fighting corruption and improving the judicial system remain essential priorities, and the three states are firmly committed to their commitments.
According to the statement, countries continue to confront challenges. In particular, due to the illegal occupation of the territories of Georgia and Ukraine and the unresolved conflict in Transnistrian region of Moldova, which have seriously threatened the sovereignty and undermined the territorial integrity of our counties.
"These violations of international law have significantly destabilized European and regional security and undermined the rules-based international order. We look forward to working together with the EU to promote peace and security in the region," the foreign ministers said.
Also in the statement, the ministers said that setting the Associated Trio reflects the aspirations of become members of the European Union, affirms the commitment to further progress in implementing Association Agreements with the EU and explores a new momentum for the strategic development of the EaP with regard to ambitions and progress of partners.
"Beyond the overarching goal to achieve membership in the European Union, the Association Trio will work on expanding, in addition to DCFTA-related issues, the agenda of dialogues between European Commission and partners to new thematic areas such as transport, energy, digital transformation, green economy, education, justice and home affairs, strategic communications, healthcare, culture etc.," the FMs said.
In addition, the Foreign Ministers said that an important element of the Trio's joint activity will be to enhance security and defense cooperation with the EU, including on countering hybrid threats, strengthening cyber resilience, developing cooperation platforms with the relevant EU agencies and services.
"On 24 June we visit Brussels for the first time as the Association Trio. We intend to make this cooperation as practical and result-oriented as possible, and also forward-looking and open to new benchmarks," the ministers said.
Thus, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova are striving, as noted in the statement, to engage actively with the EU on political, expert and civil society levels to promote the European perspective of the states.
"Effective implementation of our Association Agreements is a priority. At the same time, let us work together and see where our joint dialogue with the EU can bring added value, speed up integration and develop further opportunities," the ministers said.
The Foreign Ministers also want to convey a message to the Associated Trio that the Eastern Partnership requires a new political impetus. "We shall work together on bringing the EaP framework closer to the needs and aspirations of its participants," the ministers said.
"The Associated Trio is a manifestation of our strong determination and sovereign choice of our nations to pursue the path of European integration. We are at a new juncture of our journey and we hope that our friends and partners will stand by our side along the way of our European integration," the Foreign Ministers said.