Political developments in the countries at the EU's borders have a direct impact on the Union's security, stability and prosperity. This was why in December 2008 the European Commission launched the "Eastern Partnership" (EaP) which seeks to foster relationships with six Eastern European and South Caucasus countries namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The EaP policy brings partner countries closer to the EU improving trade economic ties, travel agreements and other relevant policies between the EU and its neighbours to the East.
The Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership, also known as "CORLEAP", is the political forum of local and regional authorities from the European Union and the Eastern Partnership countries. CORLEAP is the only EU platform that offers an opportunity to discuss the contribution by cities and regions in the development of the Eastern Partnership.
CORLEAP consists of 36 regional and local politicians: 18 from the EU's Committee of the Regions and 18 from the six Eastern partner countries. The body is co-chaired by the President of the Committee of the Regions and a representative from the partner countries whom is elected by CORLEAP members each year. The EU is represented by Mr Markku Markkula, the partner countries are represented by Mr Aleksandr Popkov (Belarus).
CORLEAP aims to: