Launched on the initiative of Poland and Sweden in 2009, the Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a programme defining the Eastern dimension of the European Union's policy in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The programme includes six Eastern European countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The objective of the EaP, an initiative based on such fundamental values as democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, is to bring the partner states closer to the EU through political association, economic integration, visa liberalisation and multilateral cooperation covering several areas.
Poland provides strong support for the Eastern Partnership policy, including in the field of development cooperation. The multiannual development cooperation programme 2012-2015 encompasses all EaP countries, which are among priority areas of the Polish development cooperation.
The EaP countries have many problems in common, such as the legacy of planned economy, civilizational backwardness and the inefficient agricultural sector. Nevertheless, each of the EaP states has its own specificity, which the “Polish aid” programme always tries to take into account.
Through assistance activities implemented in those countries, Poland intends to contribute to supporting the political transformation of the partner states towards a democratic rule of law, including human rights promotion, creating market economies, and fostering sustainable development. Polish priorities comprise in particular strengthening the administrative potential, public safety, development of agriculture and rural areas, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, creating new jobs and supporting socially disadvantaged groups.
Polish development cooperation with the EaP countries is implemented primarily through project activities of Polish non-governmental organisations (in partnership with international ones), diplomatic posts and public administration bodies.