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Central, Eastern Europe ministers meet on EU future ties

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/04/2017
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Witold Waszczykowski, right, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia Davor Ivo Stier shake hands during a welcome ceremony in Warsaw , Poland, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) © The Associated Press Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Witold Waszczykowski, right, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia Davor Ivo Stier shake hands during a welcome ceremony in Warsaw , Poland, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland — Foreign ministers from Central and Eastern Europe met Wednesday in Warsaw to discuss the future of the European Union's ties with its eastern neighbors and prospects for the bloc's enlargement.

The meeting brought together ministers from the EU's so-called Visegrad Group — Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic and Slovakia — and six other nations aspiring to join the club: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The EU commissioner for neighborhood policy and enlargement, Johannes Hahn, said that a good network of road and rail connections between the EU and its neighbors, as well as closer ties in the energy sector, would help stabilize and develop Eastern Europe.

Poland, which currently leads the Visegrad Group, is a strong advocate of expanding the EU's membership as a step toward greater European stability.

The EU has put its expansion on the backburner since the financial crisis and recent problems like the impending departure of Britain.

The bloc plans to hold a summit on the ties it is developing with its eastern partners in November.

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