Partners for Life: Europe’s Unanswered ‘Eastern Question’

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details October 2017
Publication Date 27/10/2017
ISBN 978-1-911544-35-7
Content Type ,

Summary of the contents of the key sources

Partners for Life: Europe’s Unanswered ‘Eastern Question’

+ The fifth Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit on the 24 November 2017 holds the potential for much greater transformation of the eastern neighbourhood than most EU member states are currently prepared to try to achieve.

+ Since its inception in 2008, the EaP has evolved in response to changing circumstances. But it still falls short of a transformative programme that would properly serve both the EU and reform-minded forces in partnership states, as well as bolstering their sovereignty and resilience to Russian pressure.

+ The rise of populism inside Europe and a resurgent Russia outside may have quieted talk of long-term EU expansion. But any downgrading of the EaP would only reduce the security of Europe as a whole.

+ Ukraine is the largest and most important EaP country. The EU can achieve more consistent progress on reform here by giving greater consideration to the different forces at work inside Ukraine. ‘Smarter’ reforms can still achieve more, without extra resources or new initiatives.

+ The EU should stay the course on the EaP. It should frontload as many beneficial policies as possible, and communicate the merit of these to the peoples of the region more effectively than it has done in the past.

Policy recommendations

+ Implement current agreements – but look ahead too: the EU cannot offer security guarantees to Eastern Partnership (EaP) states, but it can offer integration into the single market.

+ Get the language right: the EU should be able to find warmer and more positive language and expressions of solidarity with EaP states.

+ Involve EaP states in internal EU decision-making: there should be more provision for involving partnership states in internal EU debates.

+ Connect Ukraine to Europe – physically: the EU should keep pushing for cheaper travel and move towards abolishing roaming charges in Ukraine.

+ Help Ukraine achieve energy independence: the EU could take a softer line on unbundling Naftohaz Ukraїny and integrate Ukraine into ENPSOG (gas) and ENTSO (electricity).

Weak but stable: The Future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership ahead of the 2017 summit

On 24 November 2017, leaders from the EU’s member states and the six Eastern partner countries would gather in Brussels for the 2017 Eastern Partnership summit. Max Fras previewed the summit and assessed what the future might hold for the Eastern Partnership given the delicate situation between the EU and some of its Eastern neighbours.

The Fifth Eastern Partnership Summit: Between hyperbole and understatement

Despite much political hyperbole, the 5th Eastern Partnership Summit on 24 November 2017 would hopefully chart a pragmatic way forward in a host of sectors for citizens living in the region

Time for the Sleeping Beauty to wake

Whether Europe will be able to make a difference in foreign policy depends on whether member states can fulfil PESCO’s commitments.

Pesco, the impotent gorilla

Criticisms of PESCO could equally be applied to Germany’s broader security and defence policy.Commentary features looking at the status of the Eastern Partnership in the autumn of 2017, and previewing and analysing the results of the 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit, Brussels, 24 November 2017

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Related Links
ESO: Key Source: Eastern Partnership
ECFR: Commentary, 16.11.17: Easing the EU’s Eastern Partnership fatigue
ECFR: Commentary, 15.11.17: Time for the Sleeping Beauty to wake

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