Januar 29, 2013

Moldova - A "Last Minute Saviour" for the Eastern Partnership?

José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC visits Moldova,
Foto: Photographic service of the Council of the EU © European Communities
WHO needs whom - Moldova the Eastern partnership or the Eastern partnership Moldova? In the last few weeks and months there have been repeated rumors that the Eastern partnership countries are going to further diversify their cooperation options. There are two perfect examples - Ukraine and Armenia. The European Union is becoming more aware that the developments in the Eastern neighbourhood can represent a risk and it is called to stimulate its relations with some "A-plus students" if it didn't want to jeopardize the credibility of its Eastern policy. Who is eligible to become a showcase? Moldova?! However, it should be handled with caution.


Januar 23, 2013

David Cameron and "His European Union"

A. Merkel, D. Cameron, F. Hollande; Foto: TMNews (http://www.tmnews.it)
During the European Council in December 2012 all the European leaders stood side by side. In January 2013 the future of the European Union is being used to drive a wedge between the "Big Three": Great Britain, France and Germany. While Angela Merkel and François Hollande celebrate their "Golden Wedding", David Cameron pledges EU exit. What a European Leadership? Stefan Lehne states: "Several factors differentiate these three countries from most other member states. First, the Big Three states can still rely on their own weight to influence developments and are less dependent on multilateral institutions. Second, they can forum-shop; the EU is just one of several relevant institutional frameworks in which they can operate. And third, the Big Three are involved in shaping policies across a much wider range than other states."


Januar 21, 2013

Armenia Reloaded: 2013 Elections and Shuttle Diplomacy

EU-Armenia, Foto: Photographic service of the Council of the EU © European Communities
Elections in the Post-Soviet space are increasingly an European task and responsibility but mostly are leaving everything the way it is. Just take a look on Ukraine. Armenia is also preparing to hold elections in 2013. The European Union is getting ready for surprises but is more prepared after the Ukraine's election in 2012. Perhaps... There are more "sticks" than "carrots" for EU support of EU-Armenian relations. But Russia is offering more "security carrots" than "democracy sticks". But everything depends on Armenia.


Januar 17, 2013

The Fall of the Eastern Partnership? Or even Ukraine?

Eastern Partnership countries, Graphik: Hristofor Hridsoskulov
Six different neighbouring countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - one concrete idea for enhancing relationships with those countries - Eastern Partnership.  A lot of time has gone by since the Eastern Partnership has been launched. And what happened? The European Union has taken some slow steps in its primal dierection. The idea is not bad: association agreements including deep and comprehensive free trade agreements with those countries willing and able to enter into a deeper engagement and gradual integration in the EU economy; gradual visa liberalisation, accompanied by measures to tackle illegal immigration; promoting democracy and good governance, strengthening energy security; promoting sector reform and environment protection, encouraging people to people contacts, supporting economic and social development and offering additional funding for projects to reduce socio-economic imbalances and increasing stability. That is all well and good, of course, but the European Union can hardly put any of this to the test at a time when the six countries are undergoing a very difficult and sometimes really strange orientation process.