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Eastern Partnership Meeting of Transport Ministers ©imedia/EIB

On Wednesday, 9 October, the EIB hosted an Eastern Partnership (EaP) transport ministerial council entitled “Connecting Europe: possibilities created by the Eastern Partnership Transport Cooperation”.

Ministers from Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine participated alongside EIB Vice-President Wilhelm Molterer, Lithuanian Transport Minister Rimantas Sinkevicius, European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, and ministers or ministry representatives from the other 27 EU Member States.

Financing of transport connections within the Eastern Partnership and with the EU, regulatory convergence issues (e.g. safety standards, environmental standards and procurement aspects) and best practices in making transport connections more efficient were discussed.

“Mobility is a pre-requisite for productivity and output increase, said Wilhelm Molterer. “It contributes to closer integration of the region as well as to closer ties with the EU”; The ministers adopted a joint declaration to support gradual regulatory approximation between EU legislation and EaP in all transport areas; to endorse an indicative map of EaP regional transport network, showing how the EaP countries could join up between themselves and with the EU TEN-T; and to endorse a list of priority projects.

The EIB has been assisting the Eastern Partners with economic transformation and capacity building for more than six years. Some 40% of the 2.8 billion euro in loans signed by the EIB so far in the Eastern Partnership countries has been earmarked to improving connectivity – from roads to airport facilities and air navigation upgrades to public transportation.

The meeting was organised by the EIB at the request of and in co-operation with the Lithuanian Presidency. The EBRD and the World Bank also participated.