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Eastern Partnership might stumble due to existing Russian links

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, October 8
Igor Sidorov, adviser of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest, stated on October 6 that whilst developing its Eastern Partnership Programme the EU should have considered Russia’s interest. He suggested that this programme has an important flaw: all the countries who are part of it also have considerable economic and political ties with Russia.

Sidorov thinks that all the participating countries will collaborate with the EU whilst also looking in Russia’s direction. They will therefore try to work with the EU in a way which will not harm their already established relations with Russia, in particular the economic relations so vitally important for those countries.

The Eastern Partnership Programme was initiated by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with Sweden in May 2008 and includes six post-Soviet countries: Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Georgia. It aims to foster free economic relations between these countries and the EU, the easing of visa regimes for member countries and the facilitation of alternative transport and communication routes via the Southern Caucasus through Europe and areas rich with energy resources. This does not however necessarily mean that the Eastern Partnership is a step towards full EU membership.