The 8th Annual Tallinn Conference on the Eastern Partnership will be held in Tallinn tomorrow, 23 November. It will focus on the development of the EU’s eastern neighbours in a radically changed security environment due to the war started by Russia. The conference “EU Enlargement and the Eastern Partnership: Europe’s New Geopolitical Reality” is organised by the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speakers from Eastern Partnership countries, Estonia and other EU member states and institutions will take part in the conference. The event will be opened by ICDS Director Indrek Kannik, Head of the European Commission Representation in Estonia Vivian Loonela, and Ambassador of Sweden in Estonia Ingrid Tersman. Participating in the keynote session will be Foreign Minister of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Teimuraz Janjalia.
Mr Kannik said before the conference that it is crucial for Estonia to have as many democratic and stable countries around us as possible. “Right now, Ukrainians are showing how they defend the same values that are important to the EU: freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.”
The conference moderator Gert Antsu, Special Envoy for the Eastern Partnership at the Estonian Foreign Ministry, emphasised that the Eastern Partnership and EU enlargement are now in a new context due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. “The political map of Europe has been thoroughly redrawn by the war, and this directly affects Estonia, the EU and our neighbouring countries. We are already witnessing accelerated European integration in EU partner countries—Ukraine and Moldova have become EU candidate countries and Georgia has been given a European perspective. Now it is important to discuss whether EU enlargement will proceed as these countries expect, and see what the new candidate countries could learn from the Western Balkans.”
The conference will discuss EU enlargement options, national reforms and whether the Eastern Partnership is necessary in its current form or will be replaced in the future by bilateral relations between the EU and countries seeking membership.
The Eastern Partnership initiative, which began in 2009, focuses on strengthening relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Belarus was originally included among the Eastern Partners, but its membership was suspended in the summer of 2021.
The conference will be held at the Radisson Collection Hotel (3 Rävala Street). Conference schedule and speakers: https://icds.ee/en/eap-conference-2022/. The event is supported by the European Commission Representation in Estonia and the Swedish and Czech embassies.
Contacts for journalists who want to cover the event: [email protected], 57831881.