European Aspirations of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine Upheld by the EU States
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European Aspirations of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine Upheld by the EU States

IndraStra Global News Team

European Aspirations of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine Upheld by the EU States

Image Attribute: EU Emblem

European Union ambassadors have agreed to recognize the European aspirations of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine with the launch of the recent draft. For the 5th Eastern Partnership Summit (To be held in Brussels on November 24, 2017), Foreign Affairs Committee Members of European Parliament (MEPs) recommend:

1. Setting up a trust fund for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, which could focus on private and public investments in social and economic infrastructure,

2. Creating an “EaP+” model for associated countries that have made substantial progress on EU-related reforms in order to offer them the possibilities of joining the customs union, energy union, digital union or even Schengen area and abolishing mobile roaming tariffs,

3. Supporting economic reforms aimed at phasing out monopolies, limiting the role of oligarchs, preventing money laundering and tax evasion,

4. Maintaining collective pressure on Russia to resolve the conflicts in Eastern Ukraine, the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Transnistria, and

5. Supporting the deployment of an armed Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) police mission in Eastern Ukraine.

The Timeline

In the year 2009, the European Union (EU) launched the Eastern Partnership (EaP), meant to handle the European aspirations of Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The partnership itself is considered to be part of EU's ‘ring of friends’ in the form European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), created in the year 2007. 

The Association Agreements/Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (AA/DCFTAs ), concluded in 2014, have brought the relations between the EU and Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to a new level. These agreements aimed at strengthening the political association and economic integration. They constitute a plan of reforms that will bring the partner countries closer to the EU by aligning their legislation and standards to those of the EU and improve peoples' lives in a tangible way.

The Current Developments

The EaP was strongly made to cater those countries which have traditionally demonstrated a stronger identification with the EU and openly aspire to membership. But, for the EU members—the basic idea was to promote economic integration and European values, and to fend off Russian influence—but with no promise that the partner states could ever join. Now, with a summit between the EU and the partners coming up in November, they are growing dissatisfied with the arrangement.

Recently, Ambassadors from the 28 European Union member states agreed on the language of the draft declaration during a meeting in Brussels on October 11. A day before, the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee approved the recommendations in an October 10 vote ahead of an EaP summit in Brussels on November 24. The draft declaration approved by EU ambassadors on October 11 uses language from the final declaration of the 2015 Eastern Partnership summit in Riga. The draft text will now be sent to the six Eastern Partnership countries, which also includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus. 

The text of the draft declaration is not expected to undergo major changes ahead of the November 24 Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels. That’s because the 28 EU member states are unlikely to backtrack on a text that has taken them more than three months to agree upon.

As for Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus, these countries are considered to be closely knit into Russia’s security apparatus. And, are being observed by EU member states through the lenses of bilateral cooperation, multilateral cooperation (Under EaP) as well as regional developments and reform efforts. Recently, EU Political and Security Committee visited Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia from October 3-6, 2017 to take the stock of the developments. 

The Way Forward

Taking into consideration the EU’s enlargement reluctance and low probability of any fast-track accessions, the ENP countries need to show substantial progress in both political and economic criteria to make sure that their European Aspirational plans succeed. At the same time, the EU needs to more clearly define its enlargement criteria and borders in order to avoid rhetorically binding itself to full-membership/pseudo-membership promises.