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EU progresses Eastern Partnership

The EU has signed an agreement to provide €200 million in grants to small and medium businesses in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine over the next 10 years.

The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Facility was agreed at a meetings between the EU and its eastern European neighbours Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine at the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga on 21 and 22 May. The focus of the meeting was to discuss trade, visa facilitations and the ambitions of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to seek EU membership.

Armenia and Belarus’s decision to become part of the Eurasian Economic Union with Russia means that they are not able to participate, according to a European Commission statement. Angela Merkel is reported by Reuters to have said that the Eastern Partnership is "more important than ever" in light of the crisis in Ukraine.

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