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No promises, but EU wants to stay friends with its eastern partners

May 22, 2015, 1:12 p.m. | Ukraine — by Olena Goncharova, Kyiv Post

RIGA, LATVIA – European Union leaders will keep their cooperation with Ukraine and five other ex-Soviet republics, but membership looks far off.

That’s the theme of the Eastern Partnership summit under way in Latvia, a former Soviet republic that made the leap to EU and NATO membership. The summit brought together 25 European Union leaders, as well as the European Commission, and representatives of Armenia, Georgia and Moldova, aside from Ukraine.

There is no unity among European leaders in offering EU membership perspectives to the nations — meaning no offers will be forthcoming anytime soon.

Edgars Rinkevics, Latvian foreign minister, says that EU can and wants to assist its eastern partners, but it’s up to the countries’ leadership and societies to push for reforms that meet EU demands. He also added that there are countries with a “different level of ambition” among the partners.

“It doesn’t mean that if you a partner you’d be a member in the future,” Rinkevic said.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that “some of the partners would be members in the future. It’s a kind of exercise, because the 28 countries have to find a compromise and the six partners as well.”

Read the story further on Kyiv Post site:www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/no-promises-but-eu-wants-to-stay-friends-with-its-eastern-partners-389237.html

Olena Goncharova has been a Kyiv Post staff writer since January 2012. She is a graduate of Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. To contact: email goncharova@kyivpost.com, Twitter @FlyToSun.

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