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Eastern Partnership to become a burden for EU2009-05-08 13:15
On May 7 Eastern Partnership summit was held in Prague welcoming EU, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine representatives as participants.
Not all "partnership" member states are represented by their leaders in the Czech capital. Vice Prime Ministers Andrey Stratan and Vladimir Semashko will speak on behalf of Moldavia and Belarus accordingly, - RIA Novosti reports. Ukraine stood out - President Viktor Yushenko was accompanied by Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko. Mikheil Saakashvili arrived at the summit after a sincere talk with the rebellious Mukhrovani battalion.
As is known the idea of Eastern Partnership was proposed by the West following the August events in South Caucasus.
A number of politicians see "Washington's hand" here as the "partnership" is aimed at creation of a Southern energy corridor bypassing Russia. Naturally the European Union calls it "energy security" intending to set aside EUR 600 mln for all the 6 countries before 2013. The money is not that big and Brussels also promises simplification of visa regime and creation of free trade zone for selected post-Soviet republics. "The main goal of the new Eastern Partnership is to accelerate political association and further economic integration for improvement of stability and security on the Eastern border of the European Union", - Gazeta.ru quotes José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.
Moscow is alarmed by the project. As the largest energy exporter Russia risks to lose its influence in this sphere with the launch of Eastern Partnership. Besides the European Union's active inclusion of Russia's closest neighbors inside the orbit of its influence is not a bright prospect for Moscow. However the West keeps making soothing statements. At the recent meeting between Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov and his Polish counterpart Radoslav Sikorsky the latter assured the EU's initiative involving 6 post-Soviet republics did not contradict the interests of Russia, Ukrinform reports. "We all know this is the EU neighbors modernization program, - Sikorsky states. - Russia is being modernized too - so there are no contradictions. If Russia wants, it can join the European policy of neighborhood with Eastern Partnership being part of it. According to Poland's Foreign Minister it is difficult to imagine that liberalization of "partnership" member states can "threaten or do harm" to anybody.
The EU's velvet paws hide sharp claws - as usual.