Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

EU Needs to Rethink its Eastern Partnership Policy

The EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP), unveiled four years ago to build better neighbourly relations with six former Soviet republics, is in crisis. The EaP was launched by EU members such as Sweden and Poland (with the backing of Britain) keen to promote enlargement into the former USSR. Although with this not possible due to widespread opposition in western Europe to further enlargement, a new form of Association Agreement (AA) was launched that did not include membership. The “carrot” of the AA was the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFA), which would permit EaP members to integrate with the world’s biggest market. EaP supporters, who have often stressed the geopolitical importance of EaP members such as Ukraine, at the same time hoped successful states would eventually join the EU one day.

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