The leaders of European Union (EU) member states and Eastern Partnership member states met in Brussels for the sixth Eastern Partnership summit. After the summit, chaired by EU Council President Charles Michel, Michel spoke harshly. The President of the EU Council, who said that russia would be given a very strong response if it attacked Ukraine; “If there is an attack on Ukraine, the price that the attacker will pay will be severe,” he said.
Eastern partners Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine attended the summit, which took place at the EU Council building in Brussels, Belgium. Belarus was not present at the meetings because it suspended its participation in the Eastern Partnership. After the summit, EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen held a joint press conference to brief them on the issues discussed.
Eu Council President Charles Michel, who was speaking at the press conference for the first time, said: “We are very sorry. “This summit was convened on the rule of law, governance, fundamental rights and democratic values. This summit has been a statement of intent to support reform processes, especially in terms of digital agenda and digitalization, as well as supporting young people, SMEs with the investment package, as well as security.”
Michel said that developments regarding Russia’salleged military buildup on the Ukrainian border were also discussed. We also had the opportunity to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. We stand together as NATO, G7, US, UK EU and Eastern Partnership countries against Russian threats. If there is a military attack against Ukraine, there will be a very strong response, whoever carries out this attack will pay a very heavy price.”
Speaking at a press conference, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the belarus issue was widely discussed. Leyen; “At this meeting today, Belarus was represented by an empty seat. Because Belarus is headed by an administration that oppresses the people, uses asylum seekers and attacks the values and borders of the EU. We condemn this country in harmony with EU members and eastern partnership members. We hope that as soon as possible, a democratically elected representative of the Belarusian people will sit in this empty seat.”
The summit also focused on co-operation issues, Leyen said. ” especially the issue of fighting the pandemic was discussed. As the EU, we have allocated 13 million doses of vaccines to these countries. In addition, a 35m-euro support agreement was reached with the Polish Investment Bank to support these countries. In this way, we will provide support to the peoples of the countries of the region against the pandemic.”
Von der Leyen also addressed tensions with Russia. “As the EU Commission, we have been authorised by the Council to extend existing sanctions in the event of further attacks. That’s what we’re working on. We are already working on what sanctions will be in case of a possible situation.”
The EU will implement a €2.3 billion Economic and Investment plan consisting of grants, blending and guarantees, with the potential to mobilize public and private investments of up to €17 billion to be made available to Eastern Partnership countries and bring employment, growth and prosperity to the region.