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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » February 25, 2011
Politics & Society
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In brief
February 25, 2011   
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Eastern Partnership Summit in Poland
This year’s summit of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership program, originally scheduled to take place in Hungary, will be held in Poland instead, officials announced.

“This might be the most important event of the Polish presidency of the EU,” Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said Feb. 17. The meeting will be chaired by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and the deputy chairmen will be Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The European Partnership summit was originally scheduled to take place May 27 in Budapest, but Hungary decided against hosting it, as the event overlapped with a meeting of the leaders of G-20 countries May 26-27 in Deauville, France. May will also mark 50 years of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Polish government now has to rearrange the agenda of the Polish presidency of the EU to name a date and place for the summit. The most likely date is some time in September or October, officials say.

The Eastern Partnership summit will be attended by heads of state and government from 27 EU member states and five of the six countries included in the Eastern Partnership program: Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Who will represent Belarus, the sixth Eastern Partnership country, at the summit and how remains an open question. In January, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was put on a blacklist of 158 Belarusian officials banned entrance to the EU. The EU compiled the blacklist after the Belarusian authorities brutally suppressed protests in the wake of the presidential elections in Belarus in December.

Launched in Prague in May 2009, the Eastern Partnership program is a Polish and Swedish initiative that seeks to bring stability and economic prosperity to six former Soviet republics. It does not promise EU membership to these countries, but envisions gradual and far-reaching integration with the policies, economy and legal system of the EU through multilateral regional cooperation, a free trade zone and a visa waiver program.

Gdynia Turns 85
Residents of Gdynia in northern Poland Feb. 10 celebrated the 85th anniversary of the Baltic port gaining city status.

A special session of the City Council and other events, including competitions, exhibitions and movie screenings, were just the beginning of anniversary celebrations that will continue throughout the year.

Gdynia gained a charter confirming its city status Feb. 10, 1926, by virtue of a government decree. It is the only city on the Baltic coast to have been built from scratch in the 20th century, evolving into a buoyant economic center.
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