With the help of the “European Package” the European Union is trying to make a field for maneuvers after the failure of the Eastern Partnership program. This was stated for the IA REGNUM reporter by the leading expert of the Military and Political Studies Center of the Moscow State International Affairs Institute Mikhail Aleksandrov.
Recently one could hear quite many statements that European Union Eastern partnership (EP) Programme is ineffective and has no future. Yet Ukraine‘s approach toward the Association Agreement demonstrated that the EP initiative has proved successful.
While Eastern Partnership is not likely to have been originally intended by the EU as a new European watershed, by 2012-2013 it can be viewed as an inadequate response to the obvious achievements of post-Soviet integration that have led to the establishment of the Customs Union.
On November 29, Azerbaijan and the European Union signed a visa-facilitation agreement in Vilnius, Lithuania, within the framework of the Eastern Partnership summit. The agreement was signed by the foreign minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, by Linas Linkevicius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania in his capacity (July 1–December 31, 2013) as President of the Council of the European Union, and by Stefan Fule, the EU’s commissioner with responsibility for enlargement and the European Neighborhood Policy (Contact.az, November 29). The agreement will help Azerbaijani citizens to obtain an EU visa more easily and more cheaply.
Lithuanian foreign affairs vice-minister Vytautas Leškevičius, while presenting the principal goals of the Lithuanian Presidency of the European Union (EU) Council in the Conference of Committee Chairs of the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg, stressed the importance of the cooperation of the EU institutions.
Potential large shale gas deposits in Europe have raised hopes that the old continent may in the future rely less on oil and natural gas imports from Russia. However, fears of potential environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing and the lack of a clear policy by the European Union have led to the suspension of shale gas exploration in France and Bulgaria in the past year. In April, environmental protests spread to Romania raising concerns that shale gas exploration could be stalled in yet another EU state.
The results of the last Summit of the “Eastern Partnership” member-states show that the struggle between Russia and West for a dominating influence over former Soviet republics has entered into a new stage. And it seems that Moscow captures greater initiative.
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.
With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the US Congress is ready to reap the benefits of the European Parliament's strengthened role and renew its ties with legislators in Brussels.
At the beginning of March a joint meeting of ministers for foreign affairs of the countries from the Vyshegrad Group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) and member states of the European Union program ‘Eastern Partnership’ (Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) is to be held in Budapest. Participation of their colleagues from the EU presiding ‘troika’ – Spain, Great Britain and Hungary – is also expected.