The EaP Before the Vilnius Summit

Index presentation combined with a discussion on EaP took place in Berlin on November 15, 2013. The event was organised by  the European Council on Foreign Relations (Berlin office), GIZ, International Renaissance Foundation and Open Society Foundations. Iryna Solonenko presented the European Integration Index 2013. This was followed by a panel debate with Stefan Meister as the moderator ( ECFR, Berlin), Oleksandr Sushko (Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Kyiv), Boris Navasardyan, Yerevan) and Viorel Ursu (Open Society European Policy Institute, Brussels). 
 
According to Oleksandr Sushko the EU has managed to consolidate political forces in Ukraine in the past months and therefore the  parliament managed to adopt a number of reforms demanded by the EU. Yet, President Yanukovych's bargaining for survival in the run up for 2015 presidential elections makes him avoid taking a positive decision on the issue of Yulia Tymoshenko. The whole situation is exacerbated by the fact, that while the EU's conditions and offers are visible and transparent, those of Russia, or better to say of President Putin, are non-transparent. 
 
According to Viorel Ursu, who focused on developments in Moldova, most reforms that Moldova managed to adopt in the recent years could be described as the EU's achievements, since those were a part of either the EU's or IMF's conditionality. One of the most vivid examples was adoption of the non-discrimination legislation following four years of rather violent debates. Yet, this is far from clear whether positive developments in Moldova are irreversible - Moldova still needs to go through a few cycles of elite change and show commitment to pro-European reforms. 
 
Boris Navasardyan told that the decision for Armenia to join the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan was taken by a very small group of people.  There is no big opposition to this step - according to different opinion polls, between 64 and 81 per cent of people would support joining the Customs Union. Yet, paradoxically, nationalistic forces in Armenia and those that are pro-European appeared to be in the same camp now opposing this step. It remains to be seen where this situation leads. For now the EU put on hold not only Association Agreement with Armenia, negotiations on which were successfully completed this year, but also visa liberalisation. 
 
During the debate the participants discussed why in some cases the EU's conditionality seems to work, while in others not and the role of civil society. It was argued that while civil society component is present in the EaP's multilateral track, it is still missing in the bilateral track and needs to be introduced, possibly in the form of trialog  with EU, authorities and civil society of a given country. Representatives of Human Rights Watch, DGAP, SWP, German Marshall Fund and many other Berlin-based institutions took part in the debate. 
 

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