Closer to Europe?

Issue 6 of EaP Think Bridge Digest is out, with May overview of Eastern Partnership region and an article on the strengthening ties with EU

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However different ways and motives the six Eastern Partnership countries may have, one way or the other they are moving towards strengthening their cooperation with the European Union.

Systematic reforms and the ability to defend national interests while resisting pressure from outside are two essential components for further successful development in this direction. It is not unexpected that the countries in the region are in different places on their way to cooperation with the EU, with prominent leaders being Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. That is why it is extremely important not only to establish the dialogue between civil society and reformers in each country of the region, but also to have efficient communication between the countries sharing the best cases. It is exactly this subject matter that the Armenian expert Richard Giragosyan’s monthly analytics is devoted to.

In May the relations of the countries in the region with Western partners were not univocal. Georgia, on one hand, became a political center, having hosted the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. However, on the other hand, it became involved in an international scandal due to the case of an Azeri opposition journalist kidnaped in Tbilisi.

Ukraine was reassured by the world leaders that the sanctions against Russia will not be lifted. Moreover, Kyiv itself imposed new sanctions for the aggressor’s business: social networks «VKontakte» and «Odnoklassniki» as well as «Yandex» search engine were blocked.

In Yerevan, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) office, the last one in the Southern Caucasus, was closed at the behest of Baku. Yet Armenia and Azerbaijan faced new escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – missile attacks.

Moldova did not receive the financial aid promised by the EU due to the issue of its democratic standards, in particular its deteriorating situation with media independence.

At the same time Belarus is still seeking balance to counter Russian influence not only in the West, but also in the East. In the course of «One Belt, One Road» Forum taking place in Bejing in May Minsk signed an agreement with China on cooperation in economy as well as in security and military spheres.

More details on these and other important events in the region are provided in our monthly review.

Download Issue #6