Eastern Journal of European Studies

e-ISSN: 2068-6633 | ISSN: 2068-651X

Volume 7  |  Issue 2  |  December 2016

Thematic issue: The Eastern Partnership under strain

Editorial: A new European Neighbourhood Policy to strengthen the European project

Author: Gilles ROUET
Abstract: It is now common to link the difficulties of the European project with the instability of the "European Union's neighbours" and the repeated crises. The "Europeans" would no longer have confidence in a political project, however innovative and hopeful, at least of peace and stability, if not of economic growth.
After the beginning of its largest enlargement, twelve years ago, the EU has discovered a new Eastern Neighbourhood, the same one as the Western Neighbourhood of Russia . Even if the "demand of Europe" seems to remain large, for example in Belgrade, Skopje, Kiev or Tbilisi, an important part of the concerned populations express their regret not of previous political situations but of lost stability. And these people express themselves in votes, clearly, as in the last Bulgarian presidential elections, for example. And these votes cannot only be analysed in "sanction vote".

: European Union, soft power, geopolitical power, Eastern Partnership, value-based transformation
Pages: 5-10 | Full text (PDF)

The EU's Eastern Partnership: normative or geopolitical power projection?

Author: Kamala VALIYEVA
Abstract: This paper examines the European Union's Eastern Partnership (EaP) initiative through the lens of theoretical debate between constructivist and rationalist approaches with a specific focus on the normative and geopolitical dimensions of the EU's power projection in a specific region. In doing so the paper aims to determine whether the initiative is a pursuit of the EU's interests in the post-Soviet area and an attempt to weaken Russia's traditional great power potential in the region or a policy to enhance regional stability through the promotion of fundamental European values which serves as a framework for democratic institution-building in partner countries. This paper argues that the EU's ambivalent actorness in this particular post-Soviet region, which is shaped both by value considerations and self-interest concerns, while lacking a strategic coherence, constitutes a fundamental reason behind a policy failure.

: EU, normative power, geopolitical power, Eastern Partnership, value-based transformation, post-Soviet countries
Pages: 11-29 | Full text (PDF)

Geopolitical challenges for the post-bipolar Europe

Abstract: In the context of the crisis in Ukraine and over Ukraine that has brought the Russia-West relations to a breaking point for the first time since the end of the East-West confrontation, it comes as no surprise that people are now asking themselves if we are heading towards a new Cold War. The Ukrainian crisis is viewed as the first direct conflict between differing regional strategies of Russia and the EU - Brussels' Eastern partnership and Moscow's Eurasia Union concept. Ukraine has been central to both strategies, and "the either/or" choice presented to Kiev ultimately made a conflict inevitable. However, the reason for this confrontation goes much deeper than the clash of two opposing regional strategies and is rooted heavily in the 1990s. Therefore, the Ukrainian conflict should be viewed as the quintessence of the mutual disappointment of Russia and the West, resulted from their mistakes after the end of bipolarity.
Keywords: Cold war, European integration, European security, Eastern partnership, NATO's enlargement
Pages: 31-46 | Full text (PDF)

From cooperation to confrontation: the impact of bilateral perceptions and interactions on the EU-Russia relations in the context of shared neighbourhood

Authors: Adrian POP
Abstract: Relying on the regional security complex theory and statements made by top Russian and EU officials and key decision-makers from the new EU Member States bordering Russia to the East, the article advances three main conclusions. First, that Russia's negative perceptions of the EU's Eastern Partnership initiative explains to a large extent the change of its EU's perception from a strategic ally to a competitor for influence in the shared neighbourhood and the speeding up of the Russian-led Eurasian integration project. Second, that faced with Russia's increasing bullying behaviour in its Eastern neighbourhood in general and Ukraine in particular, the EU has been pushed into a confrontational mode with Russia. Third, that being at the forefront of condemning Russia's aggressive behaviour in Ukraine, the new EU Member States along the Baltic-Black Sea limes have created a new regional security subcomplex within the EU-Europe regional security complex.
Keywords: panel data econometrics, fixed effects models, SMEs density, regional inequality
Keywords: EU, Eastern Partnership, Russia, Ukraine, regional security complex theory
Pages: 47-70  | Full text (PDF)

Soft power geopolitics: how does the diminishing utility of military power affect the Russia - West confrontation over the "Common Neighbourhood"

Authors: Vasif HUSEYNOV
Abstract: This paper is based on the fact that a number of factors, but particularly the restricting utility of military force between great powers, increase the significance of soft power as a tool both for legitimization and expansion in international relations in general, and in the West - Russia confrontation over the "common (or shared) neighbourhood" in particular. It explores how this fact affects the policies of the Western powers and Russia within the frame of the confrontation they are in. The paper narrows down its analytical focus on the efforts of the Kremlin to affect the public opinion in its neighbourhood and to counter Western soft power. It is argued that the Ukraine crisis has affected Russia's perception of soft power, re-constructed its counter-revolutionary agenda, and increased the profile of propaganda in its foreign policy. The paper concludes that the soft power competition between Russia and West and the policies of the two powers to win over the hearts and minds of people in the shared neighbourhood re-define the character of geopolitical games in the Former Soviet Union.
Keywords: panel data econometrics, fixed effects models, SMEs density, regional inequality
Keywords: EU, Common Neighbourhood, Russia, soft power, United States
Pages: 71-90 | Full text (PDF)

The Eurasian Economic Union: prospective regional integration in the post-Soviet space or just geopolitical project?

Abstract: Despite the strong competition on the part of the European Union (EU) to become a main integrator in the Post-Soviet Space, the Russian Federation (RF) has not abandoned the idea of continuing to promote integration among ex Soviet Union's republics and as a result, on the basis of the Eurasian Economy Community (EAEC), the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which is meant to become a link between Europe and Asia, has been created. This contribution aims to analyse the integration in the Post-Soviet Space and the role and perspectives of a new agent in the region, the EEU. With regard to methodology of research, such theoretical methods as analysis of literature and authors' opinions, analyses of official legal documents and statistics data and comparative analysis of institutions were applied.
Keywords: Eurasian Economic Union, European Union, Integration in Post-Soviet Space, regionalism
Pages: 91-110 | Full text (PDF)

The EU's rule of law promotion in post-Soviet Europe: what explains the divergence between Baltic States and EaP countries?

Authors: Martin MENDELSKI
Abstract: The European Union (EU) and domestic "change agents" have promoted the rule of law in post-Soviet Europe with varying results. While the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) succeeded in establishing the rule of law, Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) did not. Why did EU-driven legal, judicial and anti-corruption reforms not produce the rule of law in the latter group? I argue that divided elites (reformers) in laggard EaP countries engage in detrimental political competition that creates incentives to misuse the law, the prosecution and judicial structures as "political weapons". The result of this power struggle is an erratic reform process which produces reform pathologies of Europeanization (e.g. legal instability and incoherence, reinforced fragmentation and politicization) that undermine the rule of law. Instead of serving as an external check on rule-of-law abusing reformers, the EU empowers reformist but unaccountable "change agents" in a partisan way, thus creating incentives for the accumulation and abuse of power, especially after regime changes. Reformers in the advanced Baltic States have avoided detrimental political competition, the fragmentation of the state and many reform pitfalls through de facto exclusion of ethnic Russians from the political and judicial system. This policy of partial exclusion allowed elites in Estonia and Latvia to build consensus, to create a unitary state, including strong, unified and independent horizontal accountability structures (e.g. judiciary, Ombudsman, Constitutional Court etc.) which in turn were able to check the executive. The argument is supported by an empirical, indicator-based analysis of the rule of law and several interviews with representatives in Brussels, Strasbourg and Chisinau.
Keywords: Rule of law, EU conditionality, detrimental political competition, Eastern Partnership, European Neighbourhood Policy, Baltic States, EaP Countries
Pages: 111-144 | Full text (PDF)

Implementing the DCFTA in the context of state capture: assessing the position of Small and Medium Enterprises

Author: Kerry LONGHURST
Abstract: The implementation of the DCFTA in the Republic of Moldova is an ongoing process, its ultimate objective being the modernisation of the Moldovan economy, broad prosperity and the creation of an open society. By using conditionality, the EU is banking on public and private actors aligning to European norms and practices. This article focuses on the position of SMEs and their interactions with the DCFTA. The overall argument posited is that the condition of 'state capture', twinned with a disadvantageous business climate serve as structural impediments to the full implementation of the DCFTA and to the capacity of the SME sector to benefit.
Keywords: Moldova, Small and Medium Enterprises, DCFTA, SMEs Eastern Partnership, State Capture, Corruption
Pages: 145-164 | Full text (PDF)

The evolution of the European Union's conception in the foreign policy discourse of Armenia: implications for U-turn and the path beyond the Association Agreement

Author: Aram TERZYAN
Abstract: The question of why Armenia abruptly shifted from the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU) to the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEA) has produced perplexing conclusions. Drawing on discourse analysis and semi-structured interviews, this study seeks to explain the evolution of the EU's conception in foreign policy discourse of Armenia, delving into its implications for U-turn and the prospects of EU-Armenia further partnership. Departing from mainstream explanations, it argues that Armenia's U-turn was preceded by marked disillusionment with the 'expectation - capability' gaps attributed to the Eastern Partnership (EaP). This has significantly influenced the EU's conception in Armenia's official discourse, shifting it from the notions of 'normative', 'liberal' and 'status quo challenging' power to 'pragmatic' actor and 'political dwarf'. The paper concludes that a major breakthrough in bilateral 'edited' partnership cannot be expected anytime soon due to Armenia's large - scale Eurasian integration and lower security expectations from the EU.
Keywords: EU, Armenia's U-turn, ENP review, New framework
Pages: 165-184 | Full text (PDF)

Europeanization through students' lens: EU versus EaP citizens. Is there a collective identity?

Author: Elena-Alexandra GORGOS, Elena-Mădălina VATAMANESCU, Andreia Gabriela ANDREI
Abstract: The process of Europeanization has been intensively discussed and participation in debates has been vigorously tested by the academic world, mostly concerned with examining political personalities. This process is often seen through a political and economic view, ignoring the spiritual part pointing to a collective identity rationale. Hereby, our interest consists of finding how this concept is perceived through students' lens. We aim at investigating students' opinions, revealing young citizens' points of view. The conducted research is qualitative, consisting of in-depth interviews, for discovering participants' standpoints and attitudes towards admitting European bonds and becoming Europeans not just as frame, but in a substantial way, from the perspective of belongingness to a European Union (EU) member state or to an Eastern Partnership (EaP) member state. As the findings show, the bond with the European Union is seen through a political and cultural approach. Students' understanding of the Europeanization process is varied, and so are their endeavours of spreading the importance to adhere to the European Union and to share the European spirit among students belonging to EaP states.
Keywords: Europeanization, civil society, collective identity, public sphere, Romanians, Moldavians
Pages: 185-206 | Full text (PDF)


Pernille Rieker (ed.), External Governance as Security Community Building, The Limits and Potential of the European Neighbourhood Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016 

Author: Ion MUSCHEI
Pages: 207-210 | Full text (PDF)

EJESİ Centre for European Studies - Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași 2010 |