In 2009, the European Union and six of its Eastern neighbours launched the Eastern Partnership (EaP) with the stated aim of “building a common area of shared democracy, prosperity, stability and increased cooperation.” A decade on, however, progress has been mixed.
Over the next ten years, in the absence of major political setbacks or security related turbulence, most of the countries of the Eastern Partnership will have a fairly good chance of success in their political association and economic integration with the EU.
With the world economy keeping its demand for oil and gas high and lacklustre efforts to stimulate ‘green’ alternatives, Russia manages to advance some of its military and economic modernisation despite the continuation of the West’s sanctions regime.
Recognising a rare window of opportunity, EU leaders embrace a revised approach to Russia in order to ease economic and political tensions and establish the ground for a new European security architecture.
The emancipatory power of civil society to define, defend and demand changes in society becomes a key future of the Eastern Partnership region.
For the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, stability requires a restoration of public trust, renewed civic engagement and returns from socio-economic reforms. This necessitates the strengthening of democratic institutions and countering corruption, based on linkage between democratisation and economic development.
Despite three decades of independence, the Eastern Partnership countries are still plagued by insecurity, driven by political weakness due to authoritarian rule or incomplete democracy, external pressure, largely from Russia, and due to unresolved or frozen conflicts.
By 2030, the Eastern Partnership countries are likely to be characterised by greater diversity in the area of demography and as a consequence the ‘human’ dimension of development.