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"Stinky issues" of Eastern Partnership2010-07-20 13:07
Eastern partnership is a project officially proposed by European Union. It was presented by Polish Foreign Minister with the participation of Sweden at Foreign Relationship Council on 26 May 2008. In December 2008, the Eastern Partnership plan was passed at the European Commission meeting. On 7 May 2009, an organizational meeting was held in the context of the mentioned program in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, the then EU president. The main purpose of the project was EU's rapprochement with the 6 former USSR countries, Ukraine, Moldavia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and Byelorussia to hold discussions on visa and free trade agreements and strategic partnership with eastern neighbours. It also served
as a ground to replace the discussions on the European Union expansion and affiliation of those states.
The purpose of the organization should be explained. At first glance, it enables to come together against Russia. The fact was stated by Georgian president: "No matter the difference between our countries or our problems, I believe, a conversation in the context of Eastern Partnership is very important as the first stage of our common integration into EU", - Saakashvili underlined. - When the countries unite, when there is a single platform and policy, it would be very difficult for Russia to use blackmail according to the "divide and rule" principle.
Saakashvili's energetics is quite explainable: he seems to get stuck between two trams going different ways. Having quit CIS, he was not accepted by European Union. This seems to be his chance to take it out on Eastern Partnership in a decent company.
Meanwhile, problems had emerged before Eastern Partnership was legally established. Firstly, there was no agreement of opinion between the member-countries. For example, Azerbaijan refused to comply with EU's request as to the development of cooperation with other former USSR republics admitted to the program. Secondly, Europe stressed the fact that the document would not be as large as the eastern participants would like it to be. The newly-made "Europeans" want to get everything at once. The point was that the republics seemed to be over-inspired with the idea of visa-free trips to Europe and insisted upon the realization of this paragraph in the nearest time.
Naturally, European Union was unsatisfied with such state of things: there are enough illegal aliens in Europe from the former USSR countries without the visa-free agreement and Brussels does not want another headache. Besides, many EU countries also spoke against naming the six participant-countries as "European countries" in the final document, so long as such wording, in a sense, gave them hope for future membership in European Union. In that case, the entire plan of Eastern space as the East-European ghetto was losing sense.