Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

U-turns and Ways Forward: Armenia, the EU and Russia Beyond Vilnius

In the run-up to the Vilnius Summit on the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) on 28-29 November, one impression is that a huge opportunity might have been missed: attracting Armenia, an important South Caucasus partner, into closer trade and institutional cooperation with the European Union. The 3 September U-turn by Yerevan towards Moscow and its Customs Union happened for various reasons: Armenia’s miscalculation and unsuccessful balancing act, Russia’s reinvigorated real politik towards the shared neighbourhood with the EU, and an inactive EU  policy towards Armenia, failing to read important signs. Nevertheless, now that the damage has been done, and regardless if it had been avoidable or not, the EU should not abandon the  Armenian cause and push for even stronger cooperation in areas other than trade, not least  because the EaP is generally a successful policy and its integrity should not be ruined. Another way to ensure more success for the EaP is to ‘harden’ the unproductive soft approach to Russia.

Policy brief for International and Regional Studies

Project funded by the European UnionEU