October 14, 2013

Narrow Focus, Broad Vision: A Strategic View of the Eastern Partnership

In 2009, the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EP) initiative was launched with high hopes of spreading some of the fruits of the 2004 and 2007 enlargements to the countries on Europe’s eastern periphery. The main objectives of the program—targeted at six states, three in Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine) and three in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia)—have been to support these countries in terms of economic and political reform, socio-economic development, and other fields, with the long-term objective of promoting deeper cooperation with the EU.

In 2009, the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EP) initiative was launched with high hopes of spreading some of the fruits of the 2004 and 2007 enlargements to the countries on Europe’s eastern periphery. The main objectives of the program—targeted at six states, three in Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine) and three in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia)—have been to support these countries in terms of economic and political reform, socio-economic development, and other fields, with the long-term objective of promoting deeper cooperation with the EU.

Unfortunately, in the last four years these high expectations have simply not been met. While there have been elements of success, the record of the EP has also demonstrated the limits of the EU’s foreign policy influence […] Accordingly, the upcoming Vilnius summit—marking the fourth anniversary of the establishment of the EP—will be an opportunity for the EU to take stock and reevaluate not only its perception of the partnership states, but also its broader foreign policy objectives and the instruments through which it seeks to accomplish them.

It has been argued that the key reason for supporting the Eastern Partnership is because it enables the EU to spread its values. Yet, this is precisely the thing that the European Union cannot (and should not) be doing at this point in time. […] Yet, even while the EU may not have the capacity to create a wide space for the European values of consensus and liberal democracy stretching across the Eurasian landmass from Portugal to the Pacific, it can and does have the ability to deepen cooperation with its Eastern partners on areas that support its interest. In this paper, we concentrate on the most important such dimension: energy security.

Download: Narrow Focus, Broad Vision: A Strategic View of the Eastern Partnership (PDF)

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