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Author: Adam Reichardt

The Eastern Partnership. Much accomplished, more to be done

After ten years of Eastern Partnership, the balance of success seems largely positive and heartening. The benefits of the initiative have been tangible and sizable. Yet there is still a long way to go to achieve stronger governance, especially concerning the strengthening of the rule of law, implementing key judicial reforms and reinforcing public administration.

“Launched in 2009 as a joint policy initiative, the Eastern Partnership (EaP) aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union (EU), its Member States and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.” This is the official definition of the Eastern Partnership (EaP), a political and technical platform for dialogue that has been shaping the relationship between the EU and its Eastern bordering countries, including the Southern Caucasus. In fact, it is even more than that.

May 2, 2019 - Gabriele Bonafede

Multiplying civil society’s voice in the Eastern Partnership, a challenging task

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum was established to facilitate civil society’s engagement in Eastern Partnership policy and promote dialogue among civil society organisations and the authorities. One might think that one decade is enough time to develop co-operation where officials learn to value civil society’s expertise and willingness to help. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

When asked to look into the past ten years of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP SCF) I did not envision how difficult it would be. I found myself divided between my professional passion for the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region and the frustration that accumulated over the years of working on it. I have enormous admiration for civil society in the region whose actors, despite personal risk, tirelessly defend human rights, seek to instil democracy and the rule of law and create a safe and engaging environment. But I also cannot ignore the limitations.

May 2, 2019 - Dovilė Šukytė

The Eastern Partnership at 10 What is there to celebrate?

In essence, the Eastern Partnership has diverted from its original path. Instead of transformation, it speaks of stabilisation and differentiation. One can argue that some of the states have made progress in the last ten years; but not because of the Eastern Partnership.
There should be no doubt about the good intentions and the vaulting, inspiring ambition of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership programme (EaP). At its heart, the Swedes and the Poles found a simple premise in their extension of the European Neighbourhood Policy: to encourage, through incentives, a trajectory towards European values for the states involved (this was in the days when European values were not quite as tarnished as they are now).

May 2, 2019 - James Nixey

Eastern Partnership. Partial progress

In May 2009, the European Union launched its Eastern Partnership. It was a product of Swedish-Polish partnership, spearheaded by the two foreign ministers Carl Bildt and Radosław Sikorski. After one decade, the verdict is mixed. The EU offered a framework for co-operation, free trade agreements, visa-free travel and reform programmes, but the financial support has been quite limited, giving the reform programmes too little clout and no clear perspective of EU membership has been offered.

May 2, 2019 - Anders Åslund

Eastern Europe intrigue

The Eastern Partnership started as a rather innocuous Swedish-Polish initiative. Launched in 2009, it was seen mostly as just another scheme for Brussels to channel funds and coordinate the European Union’s activities in Europe’s east. Ten years on, everything has changed about Europe’s East and the EU itself. Now everything is political. If previously the EU could claim that the EaP was just a technical process, it is difficult to sell this argument now.

May 2, 2019 - Joanna Hosa

Eastern Partnership at 10 Rhetoric, resources and Russia

The Eastern Partnership was designed to tie the eastern neighbours to the European Union, keep Russia out and EU membership off the table. These objectives have largely been achieved – but the region has become neither more stable nor secure.

May 2, 2019 - Balazs Jarabik

The Eastern Partnership project in Ukraine and Belarus

For the past decade, both Ukraine and Belarus have been members of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership Project (EaP). Has it been a useful tool for the EU in drawing these countries closer? Have its initial and long-term aims been fulfilled? Is it a project that is worth continuing?

May 2, 2019 - David Marples

Lessons learnt from the Eastern Partnership

Ten years after the launch of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) two basic dilemmas inherent in the policy design remain unchanged: first, the six countries within the EaP framework (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) differ significantly in their domestic political trajectories and, by extension, in their ideas about their relationship with the European Union.

May 2, 2019 - Gwendolyn Sasse

We have an obligation and moral duty towards our partners in the East

Interview with Jacek Sutryk, Mayor of the city of Wrocław. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt

IWONA REICHARDT: This year we are celebrating ten years of the Eastern Partnership, an important initiative aimed at integrating six Eastern European states with the European community. The implementation of this policy takes place on different levels, including that of local government. Wrocław, the city that you preside over, has a long history of co-operation with Eastern Europe and initiated numerous programmes in states such as Ukraine. How do you evaluate the Eastern Partnership from the perspective of local government?

JACEK SUTRYK: The Eastern Partnership has significantly contributed to bringing closer together and integrating the Eastern European and South Caucuses states with the European Union. Local governments play a very important role in this process. At this level a real interaction between nations takes place. Based on European values, standards and norms, we are developing co-operation in areas such as human rights, market economy, sustainable development and others. At the local level, the Eastern Partnership has also led to the development and strengthening of contacts between different institutions and NGOs.

May 2, 2019 - Iwona Reichardt Jacek Sutryk

Towards a new European Ostpolitik

Instead of encouraging co-operation through the opening of potential windows for partnership, which was the guideline of the previous Ostpolitik, a new European Ostpolitik should take the concerns, direct neighbourhood and historic experiences of the more recently added EU member states seriously by developing and implementing a new strategy of partnership. The goal should not be about developing new dividing lines but establishing new platforms of communication.

Germany’s international relations are already prioritising the development of a new European Ostpolitik well in advance of July 2020, when the country is slated to assume the presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months. European Ostpolitik will likely be translated into more concrete policies during the 18-month-long rotating trio presidency of the Council of the EU that includes successive terms led by Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia, respectively.

May 2, 2019 - Iris Kempe

When bridges turn out to be walls

With all due respect to my western friends, I cannot accept calls to construct “bridges” with Russia right now, unless and until Russian proxies stop killing my fellow citizens. Only after the shooting stops and Russian troops withdraw from Ukrainian territory can we engage in any kind of dialogue.

The only bridge I remember seeing in my childhood was the railway bridge across the Styr River. It separated the city of Lutsk, where I was born, and Rovantsi, a village where I used to spend my summer holidays at my grandparents’ house. The bridge separated two banks of the river rather than connected them. I do not misuse the word. The bridge was closed for civilians and only military personnel from a small garrison nearby were allowed to cross, maintain and guard it from the high towers on both banks.

May 2, 2019 - Mykola Riabchuk

Contemporary Russia’s power vertical: Clans controlled by the Kremlin

Despite the fall of communism nearly three decades ago, Russian leaders have continued to pursue illiberalism and authoritarianism – especially Vladimir Putin, whose popularity remains high even as he plunders the country’s financial assets. Putin’s ability to strengthen and manipulate the power vertical and its accompanying clan system are crucial to his control of Russia as a whole.

Contemporary Russian politics, starting in 1990 when the country declared its sovereignty and de-facto independence from the Soviet Union, has experienced all types of regime shifts. The newly post-Soviet Russia began as a fragile democracy, albeit one that leaned more towards illiberalism than freedom and continued to endure hard authoritarian governance. Over the years it travelled down the path of greater totalitarianism.

May 2, 2019 - Vakhtang Maisaia

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