The EU protects Eastern Partnership project
By Messenger Staff
Monday, September 16Just before the Vilnius summit the authors of the EU Eastern Partnership project became very much concerned with the decision of Armenia to enter the Russian-led Customs Union. With this step Armenia neglected the Eastern Partnership program. So, consequently the EU has become committed to speeding up the process with the remaining Eastern Partnership players: Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. At the same time, the EU tries to warn Russia so that it should refrain from exercising economic and political pressure on the Eastern Partnership players.
Armenia's case was a shock for the EU authorities. Until the very last moment, the EU had no information about Yerevan's decision. It only became known on August 31. EU authorities explained to the Armenian government that balancing on both sides – the Customs Union and the Eastern Partnership- was not an option, and they could not belong to both. It is no secret that Armenia made its decision under the pressure of Moscow. Some analysts say that Moscow also exerts pressure on Tbilisi too,( proof of this has not been documented yet). Meanwhile, the Georgian government states that Tbilisi will not deviate from their chosen path. Georgia remains committed to signing the free trade agreement with the EU. For its part, the EU promises to expedite the signing process so that the agreement will come into force as soon as possible. The EU also promises to approach the Ukraine and Moldova the same way.
EU enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule openly names Russia as the force that is placing pressure on EP partners. He highlighted that this type of behavior is unacceptable to the EU. Meanwhile, Moscow continues to blackmail prospective member countries that want to choose their own paths. They do this by leveraging energy prices and creating extra trader barriers who turn towards Europe.
On September 12, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that calls on Russia to allow all former Soviet republics a chance to make up their own choices without interference.
PM Ivanishvili hopes that the agreement and process will be completed by Spring of 2014.