Mateusz Morawiecki made the appeal in Brussels on Wednesday during a summit of the platform, which brings together the EU and the former Soviet states of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus.
Belarus recently suspended its membership of the Eastern Partnership and was not represented at Wednesday's event in the Belgian capital, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Morawiecki said the EU would impose fresh sanctions on Minsk if it escalated a migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border and its crackdown on the democratic opposition at home, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
The Polish prime minister told the media: “What happens on the EU’s eastern border is of great importance to us.”
He added: “Over the last 10 years, the focus of the Eastern Partnership countries has shifted towards the West. This is where Russia's aggressive attitude comes from.”
Referring to a Russian military buildup around Ukraine, Morawiecki said Poland would demand severe sanctions if Moscow continued to escalate tensions on the eastern flank of the EU and NATO, the IAR news agency reported.
A helping hand
“We should give a helping hand to the countries of the Eastern Partnership,” Morawiecki stated, as quoted by his office.
“Not only should we keep the open door to the EU, but our assistance should also be generous so that the focus shifts more and more towards cooperation,” he said.
He also argued that, if close links with the EU "are not cultivated, Russia will dominate these countries in the coming decades.”
Morawiecki emphasised that Poland “is playing a fundamental, key, central role in this strategic dimension of the Eastern Partnership.”
He noted that the EU’s eastern neighbours also needed assistance in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
"Poland donated over 20 million vaccines for these countries to help them deal with the pandemic more quickly,” he said, adding that the "the role of Poland was greatly appreciated" at the Brussels gathering.
Poland on Monday signed a two-year agreement to coordinate the EU’s EUR 35 million vaccination drive for the Eastern Partnership countries, according to officials.
The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009 as an initiative by Poland and Sweden to forge closer political and economic ties between the EU and the six post-Soviet states.
Source: IAR, PAP