English language version Russian language version

Refreshing the Eastern Partnership Policy

Discovering BelarusThe Belarus EU Business Council held a conference “Refreshing the Eastern Partnership Policy” on 26 March at the European Commission Representation in Berlin.

2014 is a year of transition in terms of EU governance, with the appointment of new EU external action leaders, and a year of reflection. It is ten years since the big-bang enlargement of the Union to embrace countries from Central and Eastern Europe, and the launch of the European Neighbourhood Policy. Looking to the events unfolding in Ukraine, this new year also presents an opportunity to analyse and rethink the EU’s policy towards the Eastern Partnership countries.

Speakers included:

  • Andrei Giro, Ambassador of Belarus to Germany
  • Katrin Böttger, Institut für Europäische Politik
  • Marzenna Guz-Vetter, European Commission Representation in Germany
  • Ben Aris, Editor of Business New Europe
  • James Wilson, Director of the Belarus EU Business Council
  • Gaik Vartanen, Member of Socialist Party, Moldova

The panelists discussed how the events in Ukraine led to further concerns about the impact on the remaining ENP countries and what should be done in order to avoid situations like the case of Ukraine.

The panel of speakers commented on:

  • the EU’s relations and approach to its geographical neighbours;
  • costs and benefits of the EU sanctions;
  • prospects of the “more for more” and “take it or leave it” approaches to the ENP policy and the importance of the tailor-made solutions towards each country;
  • progress of the ENP countries in the negotiations on visa liberalization with the EU;
  • economic costs and benefits of the EU’s free trade agreements versus Customs Union.

The panel also analysed the EU foreign policy and relations with Russia.The participants agreed that the potential and ambitions of Russia was not taken seriously enough which is not the reason enough to “burn the bridges”.

Photos from the event: