The 6th summit of the Eastern Partnership successfully concluded in Brussels on Wednesday, 15 December with the adoption of a declaration which sets out the strategy and priorities that will guide relations between the EU and its Eastern neighbours going forward. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen described it as a new more ambitious agenda.
Read the full text of the declaration here
The summit was attended by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as the heads of government of the EU27 member states and the heads of the European institutions.
Belarus, also a member of the Eastern Partnership had earlier suspended its membership, and an empty seat was left symbolically. EU leaders made it clear that they remained committed to the people of Belarus.
Russia was never mentioned even once in the Summit's final declaration, but Russian military moves on the border with Ukraine overshadowed the summit. EU leaders made it clear that if Russia intervened militarily in Ukraine the response will be swift and forceful.
The leaders emphasised their joint determination to uphold the fundamental values they share, including strengthening democracy and the rule of law; protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities; promoting gender equality; fostering inclusive societies and ensuring full respect for the principles and norms of international law.
The declarations states that the EU remains committed in its support to the territorial integrity within their internationally recognised borders, independence, and sovereignty of all eastern partners. The leaders welcomed the EU’s efforts, enhanced engagement and strengthened role in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and confidence building.
The leaders meeting in the Eastern Partnership summit reaffirmed the sovereign right of each partner to choose the level of ambition and its goals in its relations with the EU. The EaP is not directed against anyone, but designed to contribute to peace and prosperity for all countries in the neighbourhood.
The only hint of dissent during the summit was a reservation made by Azerbaijan to the Final Declaration. It said, "The Republic of Azerbaijan disassociates itself from paragraph 11 of the Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit of 15 December 2021, and has reservation to any operations “in conflict-affected regions” referred to in paragraph 8 of the Annex to this Joint Declaration carried out in the absence of a relevant request and agreement with the Republic of Azerbaijan."
Overall however in all EaP countries and across the EU the summit has been welcomed as a success and as providing a solid basis for more robust EU engagement with its eastern neighbourhood going forward.