In December 2008, the European Commission presented a communication on “Eastern Partnership” – a new project which aims to substantially upgrade the level of political engagement of the European Union in its relations with six ex-Soviet states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
It is suggested that the Eastern Partnership will be officially launched at a special Eastern Partnership Summit to be held in Spring 2009.
The European Commission’s communication foresees that the Eastern Partnership will be based, inter alia, on mutual commitments to the rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights, respect for and protection of minorities.
The Assembly notes that five out of six countries concerned are full members of the Council of Europe and have commitments and obligations under their membership in our Organisation.
The Assembly considers it essential that the Council of Europe be fully involved in the implementation of this initiative it the areas of its core activities.
It is also necessary that the projects to be carried out in the framework of the Eastern Partnership, like the establishment of a new Parliamentary Assembly, do not undermine the existing institutions and mechanisms of co-operation.
The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers engage in a dialogue with the European Commission on the role which the Council of Europe should play in the political dimension of this new European Union’s initiative.