The European Union: Eastern Partnership

Tuesday, 31 August 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Editorial, European Union, General
Reading Time:  9 minutes

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint initiative of the European External Action Service of the European Union (EU) together with the EU, its Member States, and six Eastern European partners governing the EU’s relationship with the post-Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The EaP is intended to provide a forum for discussions regarding trade, economic strategy, travel agreements, and other issues between the EU and its Eastern European neighbours. It also aims at building a common area of shared values of democracy, prosperity, stability, and increased cooperation. The project was initiated by Poland and a subsequent proposal was prepared in co-operation with Sweden. It was presented by the foreign ministers of Poland and Sweden at the EU’s General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 26 May 2008. The Eastern Partnership was inaugurated by the European Union in Prague, Czech Republic on 7 May 2009. The first meeting of foreign ministers in the framework of the Eastern Partnership was held on 8 December 2009 in Brussels.

The Eastern Partnership (EaP) was established as a specific Eastern dimension of the European Neighborhood Policy, which contains both a bilateral and multilateral track. The Eastern Partnership complements 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 consists of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Unlike the Union for the Mediterranean, the Eastern Partnership does not have its own secretariat, but is controlled directly by the European Commission.

In May 2008, Poland and Sweden put forward a joint proposal for an Eastern Partnership with Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, with Russia and Belarus participating in some aspects. Eventually, Belarus joined the initiative as a full member, while Russia does not participate at all. The Polish foreign minister Radosław Sikorski said “We all know the EU has enlargement fatigue. We have to use this time to prepare as much as possible so that when the fatigue passes, membership becomes something natural” It was discussed at the European Council on 19 and 20 June 2008, along with the Union for the Mediterranean. The Czech Republic endorsed the proposal completely, while Bulgaria and Romania were 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 were not happy with the possibility that the Eastern Partnership could be seen as a stepping stone to membership (especially for Ukraine), while Poland and other Eastern states have explicitly welcomed this effect.

The Eastern Partnership was officially launched in May 2009 when the Czech Republic invited the leaders of the six members of the initiative. Meanwhile, Germany attended the summit to signal their alarm at the economic situation in the East. Russia accused the EU of trying to carve out a new sphere of influence, which the EU denied, stating that they were “responding to the demands of these countries…and the economic reality is that most of their trade is done with the EU”.

Eastern Partnership © Concus Cretus/cc-by-sa-4.0

European Union (blue) and Eastern Partnership (green) © Concus Cretus/cc-by-sa-4.0

The participation of Belarus in the Eastern Partnership and their President Lukashenko, who has been described as authoritarian, at a summit in 2009 was the subject of debate. On 30 September 2011 Belarus seemingly withdrew from the initiative because of: “unprecedented discrimination” and a “substitution” of the principles on which it was built two years ago. However three days later Foreign Minister of Belarus Sergei Martynov refuted this. On 28 June 2021, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Belarus would suspend its membership in the Eastern Partnership.

The Eastern Partnership is a forum aiming to improve the political and economic trade-relations of the six Post-Soviet states of “strategic importance” – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine with the European Union. 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…” 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. 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 future membership perspective is not ruled out, either.

The EC has earmarked €600 million for the six partner countries for the period 2010–13 as part of the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, constituting about a quarter of the total funding available to the Eastern Partnership countries in this period. The funds will be used for three main purposes: Comprehensive Institution Building programmes, aimed at supporting reforms (approximately €175 million); Pilot regional development programmes, aimed at addressing regional economic and social disparities (approximately €75 million); and Implementation of the Eastern Partnership, focusing on democracy, governance and stability, economic integration and convergence with EU policies, energy security, and contacts between people with the aim of bringing the partners closer to the EU (approximately €350 million). In December 2010 the European Investment Bank has established the ″Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund″ (EPTATF). It includes the ″Eastern Partnership Internship Programme″ which is open to students who are nationals of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine.

Read more on Wikipedia Eastern Partnership, VOLT Europa, United Europe, Pulse of Europe.


Overview EU series:

White_Paper_on_the_future_of_Europe


47244656633_en





Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

Covid-19 - your unique chance

Covid-19 - your unique chance

[caption id="attachment_221800" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Covid-19 © Colin D. Funk, Craig Laferriere, and Ali Ardakani/cc-by-4.0[/caption]"If someone thinks that the corona vaccinations could alter his or her genes, then he/she/it should take advantage of this unique opportunity, because it will not repeat itself that quickly. This is their big chance, as things are looking pretty unpleasant for them so far." - Twitter Of course, it is important to get information from reliable sources in order to avoid fake news or to drive yourself nuts, because those who die of fear or panic ...

Scenic, Holiday and Theme Routes

Scenic, Holiday and Theme Routes

[caption id="attachment_2454" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="© germany-tourism.de"][/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]A scenic route is a specially designated road or waterway that travels through an area of natural or cultural beauty. A holiday route is a road which is marketed as particularly suited for tourists. Tourist highways may be formed when existing roads are promoted with traffic signs and advertising material. Some tourist highways such as the Blue Ridge Parkway are built especially for tourism purposes. Others m...

Theme Week Ireland - Ennis

Theme Week Ireland - Ennis

[caption id="attachment_171175" align="aligncenter" width="590"] The Diamond Bar © geograph.org.uk - C O'Flanagan/cc-by-sa-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Ennis (Irish: Inis, meaning "island") is the county town of Clare in Munster. The Irish name is short for Inis Cluain Ramh Fhada ("island of the long rowing meadow"). The town is on the River Fergus, north of where it enters the Shannon Estuary, 19 km (12 mi) from Shannon Airport. Ennis has a population of 25,000, making it the largest town in Clare and the 12th largest in Irel...

The Rock of Gibraltar

The Rock of Gibraltar

[caption id="attachment_152958" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Aerial view © Neonstar[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi), it has a northern border with La Línea de la Concepción in Andalusia in Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region. At its foot is the densely populated city area, home to almost 30,000 Gibraltar...

Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean

Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean

[caption id="attachment_201271" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Cannon Point at sundown © Blaine Steinert[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Chagos Archipelago or Chagos Islands (formerly the Bassas de Chagas, and later the Oil Islands) are a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres (310 mi) south of the Maldives archipelago. This chain of islands is the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a long submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocea...

Theme Week Myanmar - Mandalay

Theme Week Myanmar - Mandalay

[caption id="attachment_196304" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Mandalay Hill © Stefan Fussan/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Myanmar (Burma). Located 716 km (445 mi) north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of 1,225,553. Mandalay is the economic centre of Upper Burma and considered the centre of Burmese culture. A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan, in the past 20 years, has reshaped the ...

The Quantum of the Seas

The Quantum of the Seas

[caption id="attachment_151667" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © royalcaribbean.de[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Quantum class is an upcoming class of cruise ships from Royal Caribbean International. On February 11, 2011, Royal Caribbean announced that they had ordered the first of a new class of ships from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg scheduled to be delivered by Fall 2014. At the time, the project was code-named "Project Sunshine". The Quantum-class ships will surpass the earlier Freedom-class ships by over 14,000 GT, ...

Hunts Point Cooperative Market in New York

Hunts Point Cooperative Market in New York

[caption id="attachment_203325" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © flickr.com - Doc Searls/cc-by-sa-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Hunts Point Cooperative Market, a 24/7 wholesale food market located on 60 acres (24 ha) in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx, New York City, is the largest food distribution center of its kind in the world. Its revenues exceed $2 billion annually. Located at the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center, which houses the Fulton Fish Market and a produce market, the Hunts Point Coopera...

Theme Week Channel Islands - Jersey

Theme Week Channel Islands - Jersey

[caption id="attachment_150418" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Mont Orgueil Castle © Man vyi[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Bailiwick of Jersey is located off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and other rocks and reefs. Together with the Bailiwick of Guernsey, it forms the grouping known as the Channel Islands. Like the Isle of Man, Jersey is a s...

Bay of Kotor in Montenegro

Bay of Kotor in Montenegro

[caption id="attachment_208258" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Elisabeth64/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Bay of Kotor, also known as the Boka, is the winding bay of the Adriatic Sea in southwestern Montenegro and the region of Montenegro concentrated around the bay. The bay has been inhabited since antiquity. Its well-preserved medieval towns of Kotor, Risan, Tivat, Perast, Prčanj and Herceg Novi, along with their natural surroundings, are major tourist attractions. The Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of...

Humboldt University of Berlin

Humboldt University of Berlin

[caption id="attachment_163702" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Christian Wolf - www.c-w-design.de/cc-by-sa-3.0-de[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Humboldt University of Berlin (German: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, HU Berlin) is one of Berlin's oldest universities, founded on 15 October 1811 as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin) by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt. The Humboldt university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities. From 18...

Return to TopReturn to Top
Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica © flickr.com - inazakira/cc-by-sa-2.0
Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles

Wilshire Boulevard is a 15.83 miles (25.48 km) boulevard in the Los Angeles area of Southern California, extending from Ocean...

Esterházy Castle © Zei Andrei Meriae/cc-by-sa-3.0
Theme Week Burgenland – Eisenstadt

Eisenstadt is a city in Austria, the state capital of Burgenland with a population of 14,900. In the Habsburg Empire's...

Old Queens, the oldest building at Rutgers University in New Brunswick © Zeete/cc-by-sa-4.0
Rutgers University

Rutgers University (RU), formally known as Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a public land-grant research university based...

Schließen