As part of the Eastern Partnership, Poland and Ukraine have signed a new agreement that replaces visas with simplified authorizations for Ukrainians within 30 km of the border. Up to 1.5 million people can benefit from the agreement, which came into force on July 1, 2009.  The Eastern Partnership (PEA) was created as a specific eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy, which includes a bilateral and multilateral path.  The Eastern Partnership complements the northern dimension and the Union for the Mediterranean by creating an institutionalised forum for debate on visa agreements, free trade agreements and strategic partnership agreements with the EU`s eastern neighbours, while avoiding the controversial issue of EU membership. Its geographical coverage is composed of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.  Unlike the Union for the Mediterranean, the Eastern Partnership does not have its own secretariat, but is directly controlled by the European Commission.  The Eastern Partnership (EAP) is a joint initiative of the European Union External Action Service (EU) with the EU, its Member States and six Eastern European partners who govern their relations with the post-Soviet countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.  The EaP aims to pave the way for discussions on trade, economic strategy, travel agreements and other issues between the EU and its Eastern European neighbours. It also aims to create a common area of common democracy, prosperity, stability and enhanced cooperation.  The project was launched by Poland and a subsequent proposal was developed in collaboration with Sweden.
 It was presented by the foreign ministers of Poland and Sweden at the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting in Brussels on 26 May 2008.  The Eastern Partnership was opened by the European Union in Prague, Czech Republic, on 7 May 2009.  Ukraine is one of six post-Soviet nations invited to cooperate with the EU under the new multilateral framework that the Eastern Partnership must put in place. Kiev, however, said it remained pessimistic about the “added value” of the initiative. Indeed, Ukraine and the EU have already begun negotiations for new and improved political and free trade agreements (association and free trade agreements). The liberalisation of the visa regime has also made some progress, despite the persistent problems faced by EU Member States vis-à-vis Ukrainians. [Citation required] The forum contributes to the implementation of flagship projects that control and facilitate democratic transition in the Eastern Partnership region and provides direct contributions and written advice and recommendations at the beginning of policy development, both in the Eastern Partnership and in the EU, conducts lobbying campaigns at critical times and oversees the implementation of commitments and agreements between the EU and partner countries in the framework. Eastern Partnership.
Starting in 2014, the Forum supported two key initiatives, including the Eastern Partnership Media Freedom Index and the Eastern Partnership Integration Index. With regard to its lobbying activities to date, the forum has secured more funding for civil society from the Eastern Partnership and has contributed to the development of the EU roadmap for the Eastern Partnership Summit to be held in Vilnius in 2013.  In November 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed the Eastern Partnership as unnecessary: “Frankly speaking, I don`t see any special use (in the program) and all the participants of this partnership are confirming this to me.” However, a few days later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was not ruling out joining the EU`s Eastern Partnership programme.  Russia has maintained its opposition to the EPP.