Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

If a Bear Approaches or Charges You, Do Not Run

Ahead of ‪‎the Riga Summit, Ian Bond from the Centre for European Reform suggests five steps the EU can take to save Eastern Partnership (EaP).

First, decide what the goal of the‪ partnership is. The EU has never been clear about it with Member States divided on the issue. Partners are equally divided in their ambitions with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine being enthusiastic about EU integration, Belarus and Azerbaijan interested in purely economic cooperatio, and Armenia trying to balance between Russia and EU.

Second, differentiate clearly between the partners. Third, communicate better. Fourth, stop thinking that EaP is a purely technical exercise. And fifth, ensure that Ukraine succeeds.

Bond urges EU to say that it will keep the door to EU membership open, however long it takes the partners to get through it, and that Russia has no right to close it. He insists that EU and its partners should be prepared to stand up to any Russian retaliation.

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