The summit of the Eastern Partnership that took place last week in Warsaw, Poland, turned into a bombastic event, complete with the ceremonial exchange of solemn words. The only exception was Moscow, which surprised everyone with its calm and even somewhat positive attitude. The Russian foreign ministry did not even rule out the possibility of cooperation. Compared with the passions that the Eastern Partnership elicited two or three years ago, when Russia denounced it as an expansion of the European Union, Russia's relaxed attitude this time seems out of place. What caused this change?
Azerbaijan differs from its neighbors in the South Caucasus very much. Despite Mikhail Saakashvili's statement about Sakartvelo's amazing development, Baku is the leader for economic growth among the former Soviet republics. While the financial crisis has walked throughout the planet, the share of the Azerbaijani economy in the region exceeded 80 percent. Its GDP became higher than in Georgia and Armenia together. Will the oil sector help to strengthen the political position of Mr. Aliyev on the international stage?
President Dalia Grybauskaitė, currently on her first official visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan, at the meeting with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed nuclear safety issues - significant for both countries - and agreed to work together on the international arena for more effective measures aimed at ensuring the safety of nuclear facilities.
American expert Ariel Cohen has once again decided to play the role of visionary. He has promised that this year will become critical for Georgia, as it should now decide the fate of the state and the future course of its development. Due to the weak support from Washington the Caucasian republic can completely find itself in the power of Kremlin. Republican mood of Mr. Cohen has long been known to us. Let's see what kind of future awaits Sakartvelo under different scenarios.
While the new member states' generally small stature, relative poverty and inexperience limit their influence in the European Union, they are fast learning the game of Brussels lobbying, argues Gergana Passy.
To reduce its dependence on expensive Russian natural gas, Ukraine proposes to import Azerbaijani liquefied natural gas (LNG) via Georgia and across the Black Sea to Ukraine. Recent gas discoveries in Azerbaijan, and the reactivation of the Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan gas pipeline project, encourage a growing number of consumer countries to turn to Azerbaijan as a gas producer and transit country. Kyiv’s proposal to Baku underscores this trend.
EU could start talks with Georgia on deep and comprehensive trade agreement (DCFTA) by the end of this year, provided “sufficient progress has been made in fulfilling a number of remaining key recommendations,” a joint declaration adopted on September 30 by the EU Eastern Partnership summit says without specifying a date when such talks could start.
Between 29 and 30 September Poland will host the second summit of Eastern Partnership, which will bring together leaders of 27 EU member states and of EU Eastern neighbors, European Council President, European Commission President, European Parliament President, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, representatives of civil society and business environment. Plenary session will conclude with the adoption of a Joint Declaration. Also, within the summit there will be a conference on civil society, which will be held in Warsaw, as well as the first Business Forum of Eastern Partnership, which will be held in Sopot. Two years after the launch of Eastern Partnership, these events represent an opportunity for rethinking European Union commitments in eastern neighborhood, in terms of efficiency of this new European project and reformulation of clearer European perspectives for the states included in the partnership.
The Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audrionus Ažubalis, opened a bilateral meeting between the leaders of the sides in the Transdniestrian conflict - Prime Minister Vlad Filat of Moldova and Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov – in the German town of Bad Reichenhall today.
The “Eastern Partnership” Summit to be held in September 29th-30th in Warsaw should significantly revive this project due to the increase of financing and specification of programs. In particular, they express hopes for successful finalization of talks on the agreement on Association of Ukraine and the EU. In practice this should mean the announcement about finalization of talks on the Association of Ukraine and the EU, as well as sounding new offers for the projects’ participating states: Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. These offers should cover significant increase in project financing or concentration of funds for specific programs. An important issue within the frameworks of “Eastern Partnership” should be the relaxation of visa regime of the EU with the member-states of the project.