Various expectations from Eastern Partnership summit
Baku, Azerbaijan, May 20
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
A long-awaited summit of the EU Eastern Partnership member-states will begin in Riga May 21. It will bring something to each member-state.
The transformation of the EU policy in respect of its 'brainchild' Eastern Partnership and the decision of Brussels to change the approach to the Eastern Partnership six member-states, by making it more individual, were completely justified. This was done taking into account the different situations in the participating countries.
For example, as the most important energy partner of the West, Azerbaijan is entitled to count on the individual agreements in the energy sector. As a country with self-sufficient economy, Azerbaijan as no one else can choose a convenient format of relations with the EU.
As for Kiev and Tbilisi, they need moral support from the West expressed in the steps towards integration of Ukraine and Georgia into the European Union. Both Georgia and Ukraine expect high assessments from Brussels. These countries consider that they have fulfilled the requirements of the EU and are ready to abolish the visa regime with EU. However, the EU unlikely will do this in the near future.
Nevertheless, Kiev can count on another flurry of condemnations against Russia and expression of support from the western politicians. However, it is questionable weather this will be enough or not.
Moldova, which signed an association agreement with the EU simultaneously with Georgia and Ukraine, has already achieved the liberalization of the visa regime with EU and therefore, Moldovan officials will participate in the Riga summit just to formally confirm the country's interest in the further cooperation within the program.
All the three countries will get cash grants from the EU, which may reduce the resentment of Kiev and Tbilisi, becoming some kind of compensation for the unfulfilled hopes.
Prior to the summit, the European organizations and financial institutions declared readiness to allocate three billion euros for the development of investment attractiveness of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - the countries with which the EU has association agreements.
But the most interesting is the situation with Russia's two closest allies - Belarus and Armenia. Both countries are the EEU members, although they have very different conditions of existence in this lifeless project.
If Minsk didn't have much choice, Armenia defected to Russia at the last moment when Yerevan was ready to ink an association agreement with the EU.
Now Yerevan is trying to deal with consequences of this short-sighted, but inevitable decision for a vassal state. A few days ago it was decided to postpone the introduction of EEU trade rules and single trademarks in Armenia for two years. That is, Yerevan postponed its economic death for two years, and now Armenian officials go to Riga with one intention - to convey a message that, in spite of the desperate cooperation with the Eurasian Union, Armenia is not going to abandon Europe.
However, such a policy can cause Armenia trouble and provoke Kremlin's wrath, but the situation is hopeless, otherwise the people of Armenia will rebel and everything can end up like the Ukrainian scenario, which Yerevan fears.
Edited by CN
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff writer, follow her on Twitter @EmmaTariver