The Full Wiki

Eastern Partnership: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a project which was initiated by the European Union (EU).[1] It was presented by the foreign minister of Poland with assistance from Sweden at a the EU's General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 26 May 2008.[2] The Eastern Partnership was inaugurated in Prague on 7 May 2009.[3]

The first meeting of foreign ministers in the framework of the Eastern Partnership was held on 8 December 2009 in Brussels.[4]





The Eastern Partnership is meant to complement the Northern Dimension and the Union for the Mediterranean by providing an institutionalised forum for discussing visa agreements, free trade deals and strategic partnership agreements with the EU's eastern neighbours, while avoiding the controversial topic of accession to the European Union. Its geographical scope is to consist of Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.[5] Unlike the Union for the Mediterranean, the Eastern Partnership will not have its own secretariat, but would be controlled directly by the European Commission.[6]

It was discussed at the European Council on 19 June and 20 June 2008, together with the Union for the Mediterranean.[7]

The Czech Republic endorses the proposal completely, while Bulgaria and Romania are cautious, fearing that the Black Sea Forum for Partnership and Dialogue and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation could be undermined. Meanwhile, Germany, France and others are not quite happy with the possibility that the Eastern Partnership will be seen as a stepping stone to membership (especially for Ukraine), while Poland and other Eastern states have explicitly welcomed this effect.[8]

The Eastern Partnership was officially launched when the Czech Republic invited the leaders of the six members of the initiative. Meanwhile, Germany attended the summit to signal their alarm to the economic situation in the East. Russia has accused the EU of trying to carve out a new sphere of influence which the EU denies stating "We're responding to the demands of these countries," said one official, "and the economic reality is that most of their trade is done with the EU". [9]

Institutions and aims

The Eastern Partnership is an organization aiming to improve the political and economic trade-relations of the six Post-Soviet states of "strategic importance" - Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia with the European Union[10]. Promotion of human rights and rule of law in former Soviet states has been reported to form the "core" of the policy of the Eastern Partnership. The EU draft of the EaP states that: "Shared values including democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights will be at its core, as well as the principles of market economy, sustainable development and good governance." The Partnership is to provide the foundation for new Association Agreements between the EU and those partners who have made sufficient progress towards the principles and values mentioned. Apart from values, the declaration says the region is of "strategic importance" and the EU has an "interest in developing an increasingly close relationship with its Eastern partners..."[11]

The inclusion of Belarus prompts the question whether values or geopolitics are paramount in the initiative. EU diplomats agree that the country's authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has done little to merit involvement in the policy at this stage. But the EU fears Russia will strengthen its grip on Minsk if it is left out. It is, however, assumed that in the long-term, Lukashenko will become less important with time. [11]

Apart from the largely symbolic Association Agreements, the Eastern Partnership process envisages legal "approximation" and joint "institution building," leading to the creation of a new free-trade zone embracing the 27 EU states and the six partners. The policy would see visa-free travel to the EU for the 76 million people - 46 million of them in Ukraine - living in the region. Steps toward "visa liberalisation" are to be taken on "a long-term perspective and on a case-by-case basis." [11]

There are plans to model the concept on the Stabilisation and Association Process used by the EU in the Balkans, including a possible free trade area encompassing the countries in the region, similar to BAFTA or CEFTA. A membership perspective for 2020 or later is not ruled out, either.[12]


Members of the Eastern Partnership.

The members of the Eastern Partnership consists of the post-Soviet states Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia and the European Union. There was much debate over whether to include Belarus, which the EU considers to be an authoritarian dictatorship. Belarus was eventually invited to participate due to EU concerns of too much Russian influence. [10]


The Eastern Partnership and the EU-Ukraine bilateral relations

Ukraine is one of six post-Soviet nations to be invited to cooperate with the EU within the new multilatural framework that the Eastern partnership is expected to establish. However, Kiev pointed out that it remains pessimistic about the "added value" of this initiative. Indeed, Ukraine and the EU have already started the negotiations on new, enhanced political and free-trade agreements (Association and Free-Trade Agreements). Also, there has been some progress in liberalizing the visa regime despite persistent problems in the EU Member States' visa approach towards Ukrainians.

That is why Ukraine has a specific view of the Eastern Partnership Project. According to the Ukrainian presidency, it should correspond, in case of his country, to the strategic foreign policy objective, i.e. the integration with the EU[13]. Yet, the Eastern Partership documents (the European Council Declaration of March 2009) do not confirm such priorities as political and economic integration or lifting visas.

Ukraine has expressed enthusiasm about the project. Ukraine deputy premier Hryhoriy Nemyria said that the project is the way to modernise the country and that they welcome the Eastern Partnership policy, because it uses 'de facto' the same instruments as for EU candidates. [14]

Under the Eastern Partnership, Poland and Ukraine have reached a new agreement replacing visas with simplified permits for Ukrainians residing within 30 km of the border. Up to 1.5 million people may benefit from this agreement which took effect on July 1, 2009.[15]

Relationship with Russia

Russia has voiced concerns over the Eastern Partnership, seeing it as an attempt to expand the EU's “sphere of influence” in the quest for oil. Russia has also accused the EU of putting undue pressure on Belarus [16] by suggesting it might be marginalised if it follows Russia in recognising the independence of the Georgian breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia. “Is this promoting democracy or is it blackmail? It's about pulling countries from the positions they want to take as sovereign states”, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has asked.

Sweden, the co-author of the Eastern Partnership project together with Poland, rejected Mr Lavrov's position as “completely unacceptable”.

“The Eastern Partnership is not about spheres of influence. The difference is that these countries themselves opted to join”, Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt said at the Brussels Forum. The EU's position on Georgia is not ‘blackmail’ but “is about upholding the principles of the EU and international law, which Russia should also be respecting”, he added. [14]

November 2009 President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed the Eastern Partnership as useless: “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 does not rule out joining the EU's Eastern Partnership programme.[17]

Civil Society Forum

The Eastern Partnership marks the first attempt to build a significant and institutional role for civil society into a major political process, in the form of the Civil Society Forum (CSF). The first meeting of the CSF was in Brussels on 16 and 17 November 2009, where its first Steering Committee was elected. their term lasts until the next CSF event, provisionally scheduled for November 2010.

The first meeting of the Steering Committee took place in Brussels on 22-23 January 2010, where the precise role and remit of the CSF was discussed. The next meeting will be held in Kiev, Ukraine, in late March.

See Also

External links


  1. ^ EU and NATO keep Eastern countries at bay,, 2008-12-04
  2. ^ Poland takes on Russia with 'Eastern Partnership' proposal, Daily Telegraph, 2008-05-25
  3. ^ EU pact challenges Russian influence in the east,, 2009-05-07
  4. ^ „Eastern Partnership implementation well on track“,, 2009-12-08
  5. ^ EU might get new Eastern Partnership, Barents Observer, 2008-05-22
  6. ^ Poland and Sweden to pitch 'Eastern Partnership' idea, EUObserver, 2008-05-22
  7. ^ Poland, Sweden defend 'Eastern initiative',, 2008-05-26
  8. ^ 'Eastern Partnership' could lead to enlargement, Poland says, EU Observer, 2008-05-27
  9. ^ 'EU reaches out to troubled East, BBC, 2009-05-07
  10. ^ a b EU assigns funds and staff to 'Eastern Partnership', EU Observer, 2009-03-20
  11. ^ a b c Values to form core of EU 'Eastern Partnership, EU Observer, 2009-03-18
  12. ^ Balkans model to underpin EU's 'Eastern Partnership', EU Observer, 2008-09-18
  13. ^, 24 March 2009
  14. ^ a b EU expanding its 'sphere of influence,' Russia says, EU Observer, 2009-03-21
  15. ^ "Sikorski: umowa o małym ruchu granicznym od 1 lipca". Gazeta Wyborcza. 2009-06-17.,91446,6728669,Ukraina__Sikorski__umowa_o_malym_ruchu_granicznym.html. Retrieved 2009-06-17. 
  16. ^ Korosteleva, E.A., “The Limits of the EU Governance: Belarus ' Response to the European Neighbourhood Policy”, Contemporary Politics, Vol. 15(2), June 2009, pp. 229–45
  17. ^ “Lavrov: Russia could join EU Eastern Partnership”, Hurriyet, 2009-11-25.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address