This week’s key event is the Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Vilnius on 28 and 29 of November, meant to be a milestone in the Eastern Partnership process: two countries – Moldova and Georgia – will initial agreements with the EU. However, just a week before the summit the Ukrainian government suspended preparations for signing the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU and said it would focus instead on restoring ties with Russia. Even though Ukraine has demonstrated good progress in meeting EU criteria, Brussels’ requirement to release former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from prison had remained a precondition for signing the AA.
EaP countries see themselves torn between EU incentives and Russia’s increasing assertiveness. Russia has been putting immense pressure on Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova (read our summary The Vilnius Summit – what’s in for Moldova?) to reconsider signing the AAs. Moreover, Russia also made Armenia reject the EU offer and instead join the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. You can find out more background on Russia’s plan to create the Eurasian Union in our keysource.
In this context, you may wonder how far trade relations between the EU and EaP countries have evolved. Our recent briefing Prospects for an upgrade in trade relations with Eastern Partnership countries summarises the state of play for each of the six partners.
The situation of Belarus is different, as relations between Minsk and Brussels have been strained for years. Belarus will take a modest place at the Vilnius summit, yet the EU offer to negotiate similar agreements remains on the table. Our one-pager EU policy towards Belarus (in 6 languages) describes the EU’s critical engagement with Belarus, including imposing smart sanctions.
For a closer look at the summit itself, follow our keysource The road towards the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. We bring you official statements, analyses and views both ahead of and after the summit, including the national angles.
The EU has been an active partner for the six EaP countries, including in terms of funding. Our statistical spotlight The EU’s eastern neighbours visualizes the amount of EU aid under the ENPI and other instruments.
European Endowment for Democracy
Have you heard of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED)? Following the Arab Spring, the European Union and its MemberStates established this 1-year old foundation, which aims to promote democracy in the EU neighbourhood – on a Polish initiative. Earlier this year our briefing on European Endowment for Democracy: hopes and expectations examined its scope, objectives and funding and looked into potentially problematic issues.
Migration and Mobility within the Eastern Partnership
With the Lithuanian presidency seeking to enhance cooperation on JHA in the EaP framework, it remains to be seen what level of policy convergence in visa and border issues can be achieved. For more in-depth reading, consult our keysource The EU’s dialogue on migration, mobility and security within the Eastern Partnership.
For EP intranet users only …
For Members and EP staff, a full text access to the new quarterly journal New Eastern Europe will be available in 2014.
Our information specialists monitor what think-tanks and research institutes say on Eastern Europe and Russia and post the most interesting papers on our Library Policy Area Page on Eastern Europe and Russia [intranet access only].
Finally, here is one of the latest books on the EU Eastern neighbourhood available from the Library collection [intranet access only] The European Union and its eastern neighbours: towards a more ambitious partnership? / Korosteleva, Elena A., London: Routledge, 2012.
To keep up-to-date on Eastern Europe, MEP’s offices and EP staff can subscribe to e-mail alerts [intranet access only] that deliver both our in-house analysis and hand-picked external info sources direct to your inbox.