Eastern Partnership (EaP) is the European Union's foreign policy pursued as part of its European Neighbourhood Policy and addressed to six states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
It was chiefly Poland and Sweden that initiated the EaP as a structured policy to support regional cooperation and facilitate closer relations between the EU and Eastern European partners. Presented at the European Council summit in June 2008, the initiative met with support from the European Commission and EU Member States. The programme was officially launched on 7 May 2009 in Prague at a summit of heads of state and government from the EU and Partner countries. In 2019, the Eastern Partnership policy turns ten. The Polish side is committed to use this occasion for intensive promotion of the EaP through cultural, political and expert events and to undertake in-depth reflection on the future of the EaP beyond 2020.
- Strengthening state institutions and good governance
The aim of this pillar is to improve the quality of state institutions through supporting reforms in the public administration, civil service, and judiciary, as well as to fight corruption. It furthermore incorporates collaboration in the area of the Common Security and Defence Policy.
- Economic development — taking advantage of market opportunities
This pillar will ensure macroeconomic stability across the region by supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, ensuring equal labour market opportunities, bridging development gaps between regions, as well as developing the digital market. The deep and comprehensive free trade area agreements signed with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine are the main tools here. Their implementation is one of the most important tasks facing the Partner countries.
- Expanding connectivity; energy and environment issues
This includes the expansion of both hard connectivity (transport, energy, digital, and people-to people links) and soft connectivity (standards, good practices, etc.). This will lead to lasting connections between the EU and EaP countries in terms of law and infrastructure, which will be reflected in closer cooperation at the level of societies, economies, and politics.
- Better mobility and people-to-people contacts
Visa facilitation as well as the strengthening of communications infrastructure (digitisation, elimination of roaming, network investments) is intended to increase the number of visits to the EU by citizens of the Eastern Neighbourhood and thus to facilitate their direct contacts with EU citizens. More robust youth exchange programmes will lead to closer people-to-people contacts.