September 19, 2020

Connectivity and Resilience: the Eastern Partnership’s 10th Anniversary

The Eastern Partnership organized a panel discussion at the Europe house of The Netherlands last April, in honour of the partnership’s 10th anniversary. The discussion was under the theme “connectivity and resilience” and revolved around “how to evaluate the past 10 years of EaP? what are the strengths of EaP and which areas need improvement? What to expect from the next years?”

By Aurore Heugas.

The 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership took place in the form of a panel discussion. The partnership between Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine aims to strengthen their inter-relationships but also to bring them closer to the European Union and its member states. Which is why the discussion took place at the Europe house, because according to the Ambassador of Romania to The Netherlands H.E. Ms Brandusa Predescu,“the EaP is about Europe”. 

The event took place over an afternoon, with two different panels, each discussing half of the theme. The members of the panel on connectivity were:

  • Ms Johanneke de Hoogh, Head of the Eastern Europe Division and Special Representative for Eastern Partnership at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands. 
  • Salome Shapakidze, Director of the European Integration Department of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Mr Vladimir Cuc, Head of Unit for Political Cooperation with the EU, European Integration Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova. 

For the Resilience part of the afternoon, the panellists were:

  • Mr Jan Hofmokl,Director of the Eastern Department and Special Representative for Eastern Partnership of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ms Anna Westerholm, Ambassador for the Eastern Partnership to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden
  • H.E. Mr Vsevolod Chentsov,Ambassador of Ukraine to The Netherlands
  • Ms Marta Wytrykowska, policy officer, Eastern Partnership, Regional Cooperation and OSCE Division, European External Action Service. 

With the theme “Connectivity and Resilience”, part of the discussion was centred around coming up with a definition for the two terms. Overall, it was agreed upon that connectivity means different things to different people. Some consider that good infrastructures are a sign of connectivity, while others would argue that nowadays digital networks are even more important than physical infrastructures. 

What transpired from the discussion was that representatives of the Eastern Partnership want to find a way to involve citizens in the benefits of the partnership. Ms Salome Shapakidze said it herself, “I do think that people realize the good that can come from the partnership, but we need to actually come up with something tangible for them to really feel involved and feel like they profit from this relationship.” 

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