Heidi handed over the Euronest co-presidency

“Today I was happy to hand over the Euronest co-presidency to my Green colleague Rebecca Harms who has a long experience in eastern partnership countries. I wish her best of success.

All of the Eastern partnership countries are striving in their own way to bring about change in their societies through institution building and by seeking closer connections to the EU. They face different challenges but what is common for them is the shadow cast by their neighbouring Russia.

The EU’s mission is to support the partner countries in their individual efforts, but at the same time, insist that there will be genuine development towards rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy as well as towards our common European values. Our partner countries must stay on this road and make progress, for the sake of their own stability and sovereignty. Mutually, the EU must pursue its publicly pronounced principle of giving “more for more”, not excluding a “less for less” approach.

In this situation, Euronest has an ever important role as a link between the parliaments of the partner countries themselves as well as them and the European parliament. It is a forum for open and honest discussion about the individual and shared challenges of its members.

Lately there have been efforts to transform Euronest into a more versatile co-operation forum. We now have a new format of supporting the implementation of the three association agreements concluded with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. The committees under Euronest now have joint meetings which makes them more attractive. We also came to realise that Euronest must be more inclusive. The new co-presidents thus have in front of them the interesting task of exploring possibilities for the hitherto excluded Belarus to be more closely involved.

The European neighbourhood policy review included for the first time security as an important dimension for co-operation. Euronest can contribute to this aim by seeking new ways to resolve protracted conflicts taking place in five out of six partner countries. Finding peaceful solutions to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh should be in its special interest.”

Heidi chaired the parliament’s Euronest delegation and acted as co-president in the Euronest parliamentary assembly from July 2014 until January 2017.