Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

The EU turns toward the East but not toward Russia

Adelina Marini, May 7, 2009

Today the new initiative "Eastern partnership" will be presented. It is aimed at the neighbours of the EU in the East. This will happen on a summit in Prague where the leaders of the EU + Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will gather.

The idea for clear definition of relationship with the eastern neighbours of the EU was proposed for the first time a year ago by Poland and Sweden and then it had to be formulated after the French presidency created the Mediterranean Union - a similar initiative but for partnership with the countries around the Mediterranean. By creating these two initiatives the EU has practically separated the work within the framework of the European neighbourhood policy which until recently was responsible for defining the relationship with all neighbours. The main goal now is the maximum of relations to be achieved given the political realities and the process of reforms in each country in the neighbourhood.

A main focus in the Eastern partnership will be reforms and the road to democracy as well as energy security. But given the much more pressing need for energy independence of the EU, the energy issue probably will be the main one on the agenda.