The study contains analytical papers on multilateral and bilateral cooperation of Ukraine within the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy (EaP). In particular, the evolution and development perspectives of multilateral, parliamentary, economic and energy dimensions of the EaP have been analysed as well as the cooperation in the field of small and medium enterprises and bilateral relations of Ukraine with Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Belarus within the EaP, including taking into account the factor of COVID-19. Forecast scenarios of development until 2025 have been considered; recommendations for key stakeholders have been suggested both on improving the effectiveness of the Eastern Partnership policy as a whole and on successful implementation of cooperation in specific areas.
For over a decade of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) functioning many events have taken place that enabled assessing the advantages and disadvantages of this dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy. On the one hand, there is a progress in the development of cooperation between the EU and the EaP countries at the institutional level; numerous achievements in the key priorities of economic reforms, good governance, energy-efficiency, environmental protection, mobility and people to people contacts; examples of quite successful and promising initiatives, such as EU4Business, EU4Energy, EU4Digital, EU4Climate, etc.
On the other hand, the weaknesses in the EaP policy have been also revealed. Among them is the principle of inclusiveness which should have contributed to better engagement in cooperation of all six EaP countries, but instead it plays a deterrent role limiting partnership opportunities to the level of the least ambitious participants and thus reducing the EaP attractiveness for the associated “Trio”, namely Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. A significant obstacle to the development of common positions within the Eastern Partnership was the geopolitical differences in the positions of the six participants, which has become especially noticeable since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Belarus and Armenia as military and political allies of the Russian Federation and members of the Eurasian Economic Union have fundamentally different goals and approaches in a number of issues than the “Trio” of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine which are aimed at European integration. The EU’s unwillingness to clearly recognize the membership prospects for the latter also does not contribute to “Trio’s” interest in the Eastern Partnership, raising the concerns that the EaP policy could hold back their European integration ambitions.
The process of revising the EaP policy to set the new goals, which began in the EU in 2019, has opened up opportunities to address the existing shortcomings and to improve effectiveness of the Eastern Partnership. The EU’s documents published in 2020 on this issue (“Joint Communication” and “Council Conclusions”) gave hope for some progress, particularly in such important issues as deepening sectoral integration, better access to domestic EU market and expanding participation of the partner states in the EU programs.
However, in order to make the Eastern Partnership policy truly successful it is necessary to be ready for more decisive changes, to higher the EU’s ambitiousness on this dimension of the neighbourhood policy as well as more activeness of the EaP participant states themselves. The inclusiveness should not hinder the differentiation and “more for more” principle, and the EaP institutional framework should take into account differences in progress, capabilities and ambitions of the EaP participants. Greater commitment to the principle of conditionality should put an end to the attitude of the certain participants to the EaP as to a menu from which they can choose economic programs, while ignoring the issues of good governance, democracy and the rule of law. The security dimension needs to be deepened and institutionalized including the military and military-technical components in line with the strategic autonomy ambition declared by the EU… The authors of this study sought to find answers to these and a number of other challenges to the prospects of the Eastern Partnership, offering specific recommendations for improving the effectiveness of multilateral and bilateral cooperation within the EaP.
Maksym Khylko, Editor
Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”
Eastern Partnership – prospects for the multilateral dimension
Inter-Parliamentary Assembly Activities
Sectoral cooperation: economic integration
Sectoral cooperation: energy
Sectoral cooperation: small and medium enterprises
Sectoral cooperation: digitization
Bilateral relations in the EaP region: Georgia
Bilateral relations in the region: Moldova
Bilateral relations in the region: Azerbaijan
Bilateral relations in the region: Belarus