"If our eastern neighbors want to get closer to the values of the European Union, because it is their sovereign decision ... Nobody has the right to block the path chosen by them," she said.
Merkel noted that due to the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the conflict in the Donbas, the Eastern Partnership program is "more important than ever."
"In the XXI century, we reject the thinking in terms of spheres of influence, and this also applies to the situation in Ukraine," she said, noting that cooperation between the EU and its eastern neighbors is not directed against other countries, especially Russia.
She also noted that countries that cooperate with the EU should not refuse to cooperate with Russia and assured that she was ready for dialogue with Russia in the context of the problems associated with the implementation of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
At the same time, Merkel said that the Eastern Partnership program "is not an instrument of the EU enlargement policy."
"We cannot give false hopes that we cannot fulfill," the German chancellor said, noting that Berlin plainly says it to the partners from the east.