”The democratic development in the neighbourhood of the EU will not emerge by itself. It is about active choices of directions where western democracy is only one alternative. The actions of EU and the US are important for the progress of these countries. Long term stability, idea of open society, rule of law, market economy developed in the countries of Eastern Partnership will have impact on the member states of the EU,” underlined EPP Group Vice Chairman Gunnar Hökmark MEP, who chaired a seminar on the EU’s neighbourhood policy in the premises of the European Parliament in Brussels.
”We can see the change in Russian foreign policy when Russia is shifting from trade to business from being a spoiler to being a player. Europe must turn this new policy into right direction by accession agreements with countries of Eastern European partnership and by supporting a WTO membership of Russia” said Professor Anders Åslund, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington D.C.
Dr. Svante Cornell, director and co-founder of the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm, warned that the EU is absent in the territory of its eastern neighbourhood. For example, the EU demonstrated the verbal commitments towards Georgia after 2008, but in reality it allowed constant breaches of the 6-point ceasefire agreement by Russia. He further highlighted that the EU is loosing its attractivity as compared to nineties. Dr. Tomáš Valášek, from the Centre for European Reform in London, pointed out, that the leaders in Ukraine and other states do not worry about how to approach the European Union so intensively as compared to the Central European states in nineties.
The participants agreed that the EU needs to be more clear in its relations with the neighbouring countries and use all the diplomatic tools. ”The fact that developments are going in the wrong direction in Ukraine is to a large degree our fault” concluded Gunnar Hökmark MEP.