The Foreign Policy Centre's Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership publication takes an in-depth look at how the EU deals with the countries in its eastern neighbourhood (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine) and what those Eastern Partners want from Brussels as both prepare for a major summit at Riga in May 2015.
Russia's decision in late 2013 to pressure Ukraine and Armenia out of signing agreements with the EU set a series of events in motion, from the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, to the February 2014 Ukraine Revolution, the new pro-European Ukrainian Government, to the Russian annexation of Crimea and the current war in Eastern Ukraine. EU Eastern Partnership policy has suddenly been catapulted from a somewhat niche topic to being at the centre of a major geo-political dispute.
The new publication looks at the key planks of the EU's approach to the region including the offers of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA), visa liberalisation, funding for reform projects and political engagement. It looks at whether these tools will be enough to deliver the long-term stability, prosperity and democracy the EU is hoping for in the region and how the schemes are perceived by experts in those countries. It looks at the partner countries themselves both at the challenges they face and pose, as well as how their citizens and elites view the EU's project. With different partners moving in different directions (Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova moving towards the EU, Azerbaijan moving somewhat away and Armenia and Belarus moving towards Russia),the publication suggests the time has come for a differentiated '3-1-2' approach to Eastern Partnership that recognises the countries have different priorities but that the EU retains similar goals.
Trouble in the Neighbourhood? contains contributions from: Tural Abbasov (Center for Economic and Social Development-CESD - Azerbaijan), Denis Cenusa (ExpertGrup - Moldova), Ana Dvali and Giorgi Kanashvili (Caucasian House - Georgia), Professor Rick Fawn (University of St Andrews ), Adam Hug (ed. Foreign Policy Centre) , Hrant Kostanyan (CEPS), Dr Kevork Oskanian, Dr Kataryna Wolczuk and Dr Rilka Dragneva-Lewers (University of Birmingham) and Dmytro Shulga (International Renaissance Foundation - Ukraine).