Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said here on Thursday that the Eastern Partnership with six former Soviet republics was a "natural dimension of EU foreign policy."
The outgoing prime minister, whose country is holding the European Union presidency, said this at a press conference after a summit launched the partnership with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to boost ties.
The Czech Presidency deemed the concept of strengthening contacts with these countries to be a natural counterbalance to the EU neighborhood policy.
"Represented, to the West, in particular by transatlantic cooperation with the United States, and, to the South, by the Mediterranean Union project," "The Eastern Partnership should not reinstate blocks or the fight for spheres of influence," said Topolanek.
"It should not be a formal, but a pragmatic cooperation of equal partners in the field of trade and energy security, and also in the field of strengthening democratic principles and better governance," he added.
The EU said that the objective of the Eastern Partnership is to augment multilateral and bilateral cooperation based on common interests.