Moving on from the Eastern Partnership

The EaP is at risk of repeating past mistakes, trapped in a repeat play of passive complacency. 

17 December 2021

Elene Panchulidze, Richard Youngs

European governments need full-spectrum geopolitical engagement and commitment to the eastern region, write two senior foreign policy experts.

On 15 December 2021, the sixth Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit adopted a declaration that promised a range of tightened cooperation. Five of the six Eastern partner states participated, with Belarus absent. The EU offered useful policy updates for its Eastern partners but no major strategic upgrade. 

It failed to move forward decisively on the two important issues of security and differentiation. While it belatedly acknowledged the ‘Association Trio’ of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, it did not offer these states much in the way of tangible political advances.

The summit declaration lists the areas of EaP cooperation that already exists and promises an effort to strengthen such work. It evinces a tone of continuity, that the EaP is on the right track and needs incremental improvement to the structures it has already put in place.

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