The European Union prepared a plan to continue cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries. The goals of the plan are supported by an investment package totalling EUR 2.3 billion.

“The comprehensive agenda aims at increasing trade, growth and jobs, investing in connectivity, strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law, supporting the green and digital transitions, and promoting fair, gender-equal and inclusive societies,” European Commission Spokesperson Peter Stano said at a daily briefing.

The communiqué specifies that the funds will be allocated in grants, blending and guarantees, with a potential to mobilise up to EUR 17 billion in public and private investments. This should contribute to the post-coronavirus recovery and strengthen the resilience of the Eastern Partnership countries in the long run.

The plan encompasses areas like support to small and medium-sized enterprises, construction or renovation of 3,000 km of priority roads and railways, the fight against corruption, the reduction of electricity consumption by 20% in 250,000 households, improvement of water and air quality, increased access to the Internet, assistance with vaccination of health workers, assistance to NGOs and independent media, and mobility opportunities for 70,000 students and researchers.

The proposal will be discussed within the EU and with partner countries before the next Eastern Partnership summit in December this year.

In addition, Stano clarified that the plan was drafted to cover Belarus as well, although official Minsk previously announced the suspension of its participation in the Eastern Partnership. The European Commission spokesperson noted that the EU kept ready a EUR 3 billion package for Belarus if the country embarked on a democratic path of development.

Bohdan Marusyak

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