EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly launched
The EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly bringing together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) with elected representatives from the EU’s eastern neighbour countries and aiming to provide a parliamentary dimension to the EU’s eastern neighbourhood policy, held its inaugural meeting on 3 May.
Opening the meeting, EP President Jerzy Buzek said: “Stable countries can only be democratic countries; democracy is the only way to stability,” adding the Parliamentary Assembly was crucial in bringing citizens of this region closer together. “If we want more cooperation and more integration, we have to start with parliamentary cooperation, because it represents contacts between people,” he added, according to a European Parliament pres release.
The EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly adopted and signed its constitutive act and approved the rules of procedure. It also set up two working groups, onBelarusand the Rules of Procedure, and four committees: Political Affairs, Human Rights and Democracy; Economic Affairs, legal approximation and convergence with EU policies: Energy Security; and Culture, Education and Civil Society.
The Assembly elected two Co-Presidents, Kristian Vigenin (Bulgaria) and Boris Tarasyuk (Ukraine), as well as 8 Vice-Presidents that would make up a Bureau.
“We have created a powerful tool today,” said EURONEST Co-President elect Kristian Vigenin, adding: “the establishment of this body is the strongest signal we could send” about the potential for cooperation between the EP and the eastern partners. Co-President Borys Tarasyuk echoed this view, the press release said, and also appealed to all EU institutions not to give in to the temptation to divert attention and funds from the eastern to the southern neighbourhood. (ENPI Info Centre)
Armenians see EU as important partner, poll finds
Almost three quarters of Armenians see the European Union as an important partner, with most also having a positive image of the EU. More and more Armenians also feel that the EU promotes good governance and peace and stability in the country. These were just some of the findings to emerge in the third in a series of polls carried out at six-month intervals between December 2009 and November 2010. The results are part of the EU-funded Opinion Polling and Research (OPPOL) project, funded under the 2007-2010 European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) regional information and communication programme.
The three waves of opinion polls summarize the outcomes of 400 interviews with members of the general public in Armenia, and are designed to generate better information about awareness, understanding and perception of the EU and the role it plays in the partner countries. The final poll also sought to identify evolving perceptions of the EU.
Among other findings, the latest poll found that more and more Armenians identify fighting corruption as a key challenge for the country, overtaking ensuring healthy economic growth. The poll also suggests that Armenians are also becoming less worried about security and defence.(ENPI Info Centre)