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EU, Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers Discuss Cooperation In Brussels

BRUSSELS -- EU foreign ministers are meeting on June 19 with their counterparts from so-called Eastern Partnership countries in order to prepare for a summit in Brussels in late November.

The foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine will have a working session and a dinner with EU representatives to discuss ways to shape the Eastern Partnership program in the coming years.

The partnership was launched in 2009 in an attempt to bring the six former Soviet republics closer to the EU without offering direct membership to the block.

Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine have since achieved visa liberalisation to the EU's Schengen zone and signed association agreements with Brussels that includes generous free trade deals.

The bloc is now keen to draw up concrete proposals amid fears that the bloc has little new to offer the countries in the Eastern neighbourhood.

According to two discussion papers authored mainly by eastern and northern EU member states that RFE/RL has seen, ideas for future cooperation include joint exercises to counter hybrid threats, mandates for EU delegations in Eastern Partnership countries to counter disinformation, cooperation to protect critical infrastructure, and ideas to disburse EU assistance in smaller tranches and with compulsory reporting to the European Parliament in order to prevent the misuse of European Union funds.

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