The Conference of the Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) inaugural meeting took place in Poznań on 8 September 2011. The meeting was opened by European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Štefan Füle and hosted by Marek Woźniak, Marshall of the Wielkopolska Region.
On this occasion, Marek Woźniak emphasised the benefits of cross-border cooperation for citizens: ""The city of Poznań is one of the symbols of Poland’s struggle for European values, and has recently become known for its openness to international dialogue. In Wielkopolska, we have enthusiastically supported and implemented concepts of tightening cooperation and dialogue with local governments of Eastern European and South Caucasian countries, and we can already present a portfolio of joint projects, which were conducted mainly with Georgia and Ukraine."
Political developments in the countries of Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus have an impact on the European Union's security, stability and prosperity. The conflict in Georgia in August 2008 demonstrated how important a stable neighbourhood is for the EU.
The European Commission therefore launched the "Eastern Partnership" in December 2008, putting forward concrete ideas for enhancing the EU's relationship with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The initiative wants to bring those countries closer to the EU and promote internal reforms based on democratic principles and good governance.
CORLEAP will continue as a yearly event. By holding regular thematic meetings and facilitating the exchange of project proposals, best practices and know-how, CORLEAP intends to become the hub for direct cooperation between regions and cities from the EU and the Eastern partner countries.