Ze! Ukraine’s foreign and security policy

By Mykola Kapitonenko | Kiev

In the pre-election rhetoric used by all the front-runners in Ukraine’s presidential campaign, issues of national security and foreign policy ranked high. The conflict – referred to by many as ‘war’ – with Russia, the question of annexed Crimea, aspirations for NATO and EU membership, became topics of specific concern and points for emotional political discussions. The overwhelming majority of presidential candidates – there were 39 on the list in total – highlighted the restoration of the country’s territorial integrity and moving closer to EU and NATO membership as their foreign and national security policy priorities. 

To be or not to be – the case for Serbia’s European integration

By Srdjan Majstorović | Belgrade

The European Commission published its Country Report for Serbia in May 2019 assessing the country’s progress in the past year: it portrays a confusing picture of a country that is perceived as a frontrunner in the EU accession process, has been involved in accession negotiations since 2014, and which yet obviously lacks any drive to reform, ambition, capacities, and most importantly the results that could prove its advanced status.

Democracy without institutions

By Dragan Koprivica | Podgorica

What are the accomplishments of the European integration process in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia? Despite being at different stages, the process has still not been able to sufficiently affirm the constitutional commitment of the tripartite division of powers in these states and bring about an equal balance between them. Respect for this commitment is of fundamental importance for the operation of both the political and the overall social system.

EaP: Looking beyond 2020

By Daniel Szeligowski | Warsaw

It has already been 10 years since the Polish-Swedish Eastern Partnership (EaP) initiative was launched in Prague in May 2009. Since then, the EU has strengthened its relations with all six EaP countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Three of them – Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine – have signed Association Agreements (AA) with the EU, including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTA), and have been granted visa-free regimes. Armenia, which initially withdrew from signing the AA, has concluded a new, less ambitious bilateral treaty: a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. Azerbaijan has started negotiations on a new framework agreement with the EU. Finally, bilateral talks on EU-Belarus Partnership Priorities have been launched. The EU is now the biggest trade partner for five out of the six EaP countries, and is the second biggest trade partner for Belarus only after the Russian Federation.

Rule of law after a decade of Eastern Partnership. Let’s talk political change!

By Corina Rebegea|Washington D.C.

The European Union’s Eastern Partnership Program (EaP) has just turned 10. There were celebrations, but also less congratulatory assessments of how far the six countries have actually gone in their democratic and economic development as a result of this framework. According to the less optimistic evaluations of the EaP’s success, the mechanisms and leverage employed by the EU are insufficient or inadequate to sustain long-lasting reforms, in particular when it comes to the important areas of rule of law and anticorruption agenda. This has caused many analysts to question the true impact of the EU’s involvement in domestic reform processes.