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Slippery path of Eastern Partnership2011-10-04 15:02
The European project Eastern Partnership, designed to estrange post-Soviet republics from Russia, begins to bulge at the seams. Although the format of the meetings of CIS countries is hardly perfect, the results of interaction within the Community are more effective than diplomatic tales from the European Union. And the Warsaw Summit became a direct proof of this. Minsk clings to Moscow again, Tbilisi is still far from the EU membership and the scandal with Yulia Tymoshenko put the brand of disgrace on Kiev.
Georgia had pinned great hopes on the next summit of the Eastern Partnership. Since not all former Soviet republics can be called European, Brussels counts on the eastern aspects. As it turned out, it can include not only Tbilisi but also Baku and Yerevan, what made Saakashvili insanely happy and he went to Warsaw with light thoughts. If negotiations on the establishment of free trade zone will be successful, Sakartvelo can begin to dream on how it will fill the European market with Georgian wines and mineral water, which were banned in Russia - the largest consumer segment.
But the Georgian leader faced with unprecedented disappointment. Despite the fact that Brussels insisted that Georgia is the more successful country of the project, all attention of the second summit participants was riveted on Minsk and Kiev. Alexander Lukashenko once again messed up all the cards of the European Union. Instead of the Foreign Minister, he sent Belarusian Ambassador to Poland to the "tea party" and warned that Belarus will consider whether it is worth to participate in this anti-Russian campaign. The consequences of Arab Spring and the crisis in the euro area worries the EU much more than eccentric "father", what, in fact, the leaders of France and Britain showed when refused to participate in the event. However, Alexander Lukashenko could become a buffer that is able to restrain Russian influence on neighboring states.
It is clear that the EU still does not know what to do with Moscow, which is becoming stronger and more influential. But if Brussels really wanted to tear on Russia of strong allies, then the procrastination proved almost fatal for them. The failure of the Eastern Partnership with respect to Belarus is obvious. Instructive sanctions - allegedly, Minsk sends representatives of not corresponding level to such significant event - had the opposite effect. Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan gave their European partners signals that they have treat with Mr. Lukashenko improperly, by their own hands pushing him into the arms of the Kremlin.
Poland tried to save the situation, showing all their hospitality and lability at the negotiations. They even offered Lukashenko a package of economic assistance in exchange for the country's democratization. Nevertheless, the political declaration, which became the result of the Warsaw summit, was signed by no means the most democratic way. The European delegation tried to obtain revision of each paragraph of the document and openly pressed on the representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova.
However, the position of Warsaw itself is not so strong as it tried to show at the summit. Here, Polish politicians have adopted a strategy of Georgia, which tells what a wonderful country it become in economical and social spheres after Washington began to pour money into a rapidly splitting state. Poland claims that the deep integration into the European market will allow participants of Eastern Partnership to approach to political reunification with the continental community. But on the eve, the national currency of the Republic became the most cheapened in the EU, having reduced by 16 percent against the dollar, and national debt exceeded more than half of GDP.