Asserting the EU’s Mission in the Neighbourhood: Ten Recommendations for an Effective Eastern Partnership

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Series Details September 2011
Publication Date 01/09/2011
ISBN 978-83-62453-24-5
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The EU needs to assert its role and mission in the Eastern neighbourhood with more vigour. To do this the Eastern Partnership (EaP) needs to focus on the job of building up the rule of law and democracy in Eastern Europe. Though much has been achieved over the past two years, in terms of creating the institutional framework for EaP, the reality is that democracy is back sliding in the region, corruption is endemic and the social and economic catch-up of EaP countries towards EU levels is uncertain. Without fuller democratisation and promotion of the rule of law in the neighbourhood the implementation of EaP will be stunted.

The Eastern Partnership holds the potential to do more but only if the EU develops a 'democratic acquis' replete with a precise reform agenda. Building up administrations and rooting out the sources and practices that perpetuate corruption should be a priority, twinned with a better capacity to support civil society and nonregistered opposition groups and political parties, as envisaged in the European Endowment for Democracy.

Negotiations on trade need to be accompanied by meaningful benefits and concessions that partner states can enjoy in the short and medium term if economies are to grow.

Finally, to meet the expectations of those countries that value their European identities and where public support for the EU exists the effectiveness of EaP can be bolstered by stressing Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union. Emphasising a 'European Perspective' will remind partner states and EU members of the right that all European countries have to join the EU if they share EU values and fulfil economic and political membership criteria.

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