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EU parliament speakers to discuss Ukraine, Eastern Partnership in Lithuania

April 07, 2014, 9:19 UTC+3 VILNIUS
Chairman of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso will not participate in the meeting
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VILNIUS, April 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Inter-parliamentary cooperation for international stability, the current situation in Ukraine and prospects of EU’s Eastern Partnership program will be discussed at a conference of parliament speakers of EU states, candidate states for entry in the European Union, Eastern Partnership members and lawmakers from the European Parliament. The conference will open in the Lithuanian capital on Monday. The forum, for which around 50 delegations from foreign countries arrived, will last until Tuesday.

“A conference will be held at special time requiring consolidation from the EU states. Discussion venues of such events give an opportunity to lawmakers to express their views more freely that is particularly topical in the search of a solution to current Ukrainian crisis,” Deputy Speaker of Lithuania’s Seimas (parliament) and Chairman of the parliamentary committee for European affairs Gediminas Kirkilas noted. He believes the conference would logically complete and sum up the results of Lithuania’s presidency in EU Council in July-December 2013.

High on the agenda of the conference is expected to be debates over prospects of Eastern Partnership, which is an EU multilateral program aimed at development of regional cooperation with six former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In previous ways, the program’s development can hardly be possible after legitimate Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign a treaty on association and free trade with the EU at the EU summit in Vilnius in November 2013, and following the dramatic events in Ukraine. Representatives of “eastern partners” of the EU will participate in the conference. It was reported on Sunday evening that Speaker of Ukraine’s parliament Verkhovna Rada and interim Ukrainian President appointed by the parliament Oleksandr Turchynov has cancelled his working visit to Lithuania over current tense events in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Despite a solid representation, Vilnius failed to bring the conference of parliament speakers at the top political level. Chairman of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso will not participate in the meeting. Only the record of his video address to the participants in the conference will be showed. Chairman of the European Parliament Martin Schulz will also not participate in the conference, though he will participate in debates through a videoconference. Neighboring Poland and Croatia that recently acceded to the EU sent the largest delegations to Lithuania.

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