CORLEAP - bringing the territorial dimension into the Eastern Partnership

​Mamuka Abouladze meets
Catherine Ashton
The EU's Foreign Ministers, meeting in Brussels today, discussed the state of play on the Eastern Partnership and recent developments in the Ukrainian crisis. CORLEAP, the political forum of local and regional authorities of the European Union and of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, was represented by co-chair Mamuka Abouladze (Georgia), who expressed his concerns about stability in eastern Ukraine and underlined the important role of regions and cities in strengthening local democracy by bringing the EaP closer to citizens.
"Together with the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Michel Lebrun, we want to express our deepest condolences, first of all to the families of the victims", said Mamuka Abouladze, co-chair of CORLEAP and President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia, referring to the crash of the Malaysian civilian airliner in Ukraine, which caused the death of 283 passengers and 15 crew members.
Referring to the reform process in Ukraine, he continued his statement to the meeting, saying "More than ever we believe that our support for the reforms put forward by the Ukrainian President and his government is the right way to follow. These reforms focus on devolution, a process which is recommended for the stability and integrity of the country and which will help Ukraine to implement the Association Agreement with the EU, fight corruption and ensure rights and representativeness for national minorities in a peaceful way".
He also called for a “more for more” approach, rewarding the courageous choice which Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine had made with the recent signature of the Association Agreements, in the light of illegal de facto occupations of some of their regions by the Russian Federation. “We reiterate our standing invitation to participate in our work, showing the support of the European institutions for the contribution of the regional and local authorities of the Eastern partners to advancing the European integration process in their respective countries”, Mr Abouladze said.
The next annual CORLEAP meeting will be held in Tbilisi (Georgia) on 29 September and will tackle the role of local and regional authorities and opportunities for performing their functions more effectively and implementing regional and territorial development strategies, in order to meet the specific needs of citizens.