OREANDA-NEWS   After the end of an EU Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on Friday, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that enviable progress had been achieved compared to the previous summit held in Riga in 2015.

The summit adopted a declaration noting 20 key "deliverables" which should be achieved by 2020, including concrete initiatives to strengthen economies, fight corruption, improve governance, enhance opportunities for cooperation in the student exchange programme Erasmus +, and provide financial assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Eastern Partnership was inaugurated by the European Union in Prague in 2009 as a joint initiative between the EU and six Eastern European neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

It is the Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which is a foreign relations instrument of the EU which seeks to foster stabilisation, security and prosperity with its eastern and southern neighbours.

"It is important that we adopted the document and by high consensus, noting 20 points that need to be achieved in the next two years. They concern the values of democracy, the strengthening of reforms - primarily through the implementation of the agreement on association, serious technical and financial support, economic governance, and closer ties and monitoring of internal processes not only by EU institutions but also other financial institutions. We can say that enviable progress has been achieved compared to the 2015 summit in Riga," Plenkovic said.

Speaking about Russia's behaviour toward countries of the Eastern Partnership, Plenkovic said that it was a fact that "Russia, to put it mildly, is reserved toward the Eastern Partnership policy."

"The EU's message is that this policy is not directed against anyone but rather that it is directed at systematising and strengthening relations with these six countries," Plenkovic added.

Asked to comment on claims by British Prime Minister Theresa May who referred to Russia as a hostile state, Plenkovic said that the discussions were not conducted that way.

"There were a lot of words, there was lots of talk about misinformation, fake news, influencing elections, referendums and so on. We've witnessed continual activity over the past few years aimed at achieving certain interests," Plenkovic said.