The upcoming European Political Community (EPC) Summit’s agenda may include discussions on security and cooperation with non-EU states, particularly those in the Eastern Partnership, alongside its central theme, according to participants at an international conference on summit expectations held in Chișinău.
Some experts have suggested that this cooperation platform is no longer viable as it primarily focuses on European integration, with only three countries—Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia—having this objective. However, others argue that the Eastern Partnership can remain functional as long as it receives funding from the European Union.
Jakob Hedenskog, an analyst from the Center for Eastern European Studies in Stockholm, emphasized that the cooperation platforms initiated by the European Union do not replace one another; each platform has its own specific objectives.
“Many countries have concluded that it serves as a policy framework, but they have said that this format is already somewhat ‘dead’ and should not be taken into consideration. In fact, Belarus has already absorbed the idea, and Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are not demonstrating any interest in approaching these values. Essentially, it has become a hierarchy within the expansion policy framework that has graduated from this trio. The Eastern Partnership needs to evolve, but it will increasingly become a connectivity threshold rather than other projects,” stated Jakob Hedenskog.
In turn, Iulian Groza, Executive Director of the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, stated that the Eastern Partnership is not an obstacle for the trio associated with the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia to integrate into the European Union; on the contrary, it plays a significant role.
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“We see that the EU is seeking ways to adjust expansion policies to facilitate the transition of these three states. In the context of EU expansion, it is looking for appropriate instruments and opportunities that are offered to candidate states. I believe that the Eastern Partnership will continue to exist as long as it receives financial support from the EU,” concluded Iulian Groza.
Additionally, participants at the conference on expectations for the European Political Community Summit, scheduled for June 1st in Bulboaca, mentioned that the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia would advocate for expansion policies. However, the other three Eastern Partnership countries—Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Armenia—have not yet decided on their development direction.
It is worth noting that the Eastern Partnership was launched in Prague in 2007.