Fri, 29 May 2020

BRUSSELS -- Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic -- the so-called Visegrad Four group of Central European countries -- will launch a solidarity program for the six members of the European Union's Eastern Partnership (EaP) to help them fight the coronavirus outbreak.

In an April 8 joint statement on the future of the Eastern Partnership, the four EU members said they will "launch an extraordinary 'V4EastSolidarity program' for the EaP countries' that would provide up to 250,000 euros in aid.

The partnership, which was launched in 2009 and consists of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine is meant to bring the countries closer to the EU without the concrete offer of future membership in the bloc.

The statement stops short of calling for future EU membership for the six, saying only that 'political association and economic integration of the Eastern partners with the EU remain our main goal.'

It also supports their 'gradual access' to the EU markets.

The Visegrad statement will be included in the debate on the Eastern Partnership that EU foreign ministers are scheduled to have at the end of the month.

An Eastern Partnership summit is still scheduled for June 18 in Brussels, although it might be postponed due to the pandemic.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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