Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Screwed up: hammers, nails and the Eastern Partnership

Edward Lucas, a senior associate of the Central European Policy Institute and the international section editor of “The Economist” published an article analysing why the Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy of the EU is not and cannot produce the desired results.

He sees the EaP as being the wrong tool for addressing the relations between the EU and its Eastern neighbours, since it is too much modelled after the conditionality-approach of the EU enlargement policy. The fundamental flaw of the policy according to Lucas is the fact that it assumes that “partnership countries are essentially like the previous membership cohort, just a bit poorer, more disadvantaged and farther away”, since most of the countries and its populations do not yearn for becoming part of the EU. He also sees the EU in a bad position to compete with Russia in a geopolitical setting, since Russia can guarantee the power of the political elites of these countries better than the EU and at the same time has an interesting offer for the populations in the form of visa-free travel, access to labour markets and cheap education.

Edward Lucas suggests that the fundamental flaw of the EaP, “the focus on dealing with the self-interested, authoritarian and essentially hostile elites” must come to an end with the Vilnius Summit and should be replaced with a less bureaucratic and less diplomatic approach that focuses more on the EU’s soft power in the EaP countries.

The full article is available here.

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