The leaders of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed a declaration at an international conference in Batumi, Georgia, on Monday, stating that their countries intend to become members of the EU. The event was also attended by Charles Michel, President of the European Council, which brings together the leaders of the EU member states.
The moment of the signature was broadcast live on the Facebook page of Georgian President Salome Zurabisvili.
“Once the declaration is signed, we three countries will no longer be the same. We are getting closer and closer. The Black Sea will no longer be the same. It will be a symbol of unification, of closeness for the three countries. To this end, we will have a duty to work with the European Union on the basis of the principle of the freedom of the high seas,” Zurabisvili said at a press conference.
However, at an international conference called Georgia’s European Way, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky questioned the expediency of the Eastern Partnership summit in December if there was no substantive dialogue on the prospects for EU membership.
The EU’s Eastern Partnership program aims to strengthen and deepen political and economic relations between EU Member States and six partner countries in Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Zelensky suggested to the President of the European Council that the issue of Kiev’s European integration be reviewed.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu said the new Moldovan parliament, voted in during early elections, has the political will to implement reforms as well as move closer to the EU.
At the Batumi conference, the President of the European Council assured the leaders of the three countries that the EU will continue to be a “reliable partner” for the three countries in implementing the necessary reforms.
In mid-May, the foreign ministers of the three countries signed a memorandum in Kiev on their countries’ cooperation for EU integration, creating the so-called Associated Trio.
Title image: (L to R): Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Moldova Maia Sandu, President of Georgia Salome Zurabisvili, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibasvili, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, at a conference in Batumi, Georgia on July 19. (Georgian Presidential Press Office via AP)