EU flag reflecting parliament building

Economic cooperation with nations of the former Soviet Union

The EU’s Eastern Partnership

October 2013, Number 04.04

“The Ukrainian government’s abrupt decision in November 2013 to postpone the long-awaited signing of its European Union Association Agreement brought hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians into the streets. The massive demonstrations indicate that vast change has taken place in this part of the world. The Ukrainian decision to delay economic integration with Europe may cause some to label the 2013 Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, as a failure, but the Ukrainian people have shown that the “European perspective” is still attractive to millions of people in Eastern Europe. What can be done before the 2015 summit in Riga, Latvia, to facilitate this change?

The Eastern Partnership is not necessarily about EU enlargement. Rather, it is a platform creating closer links with the six partner nations — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The ultimate goal of the Eastern Partnership has never been clearly defined; it is more a process with horizons yet to be determined. Through the Eastern Partnership, the EU seeks to enhance stability along its eastern borders and improve political and economic engagement with the partner nations by strengthening the rule of law, the business environment and people-to-people contacts...”

Excerpt from Juris Poikans, “The EU’s Eastern Partnership,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  4, No. 4, 2013: 16-21.

Juris Poikāns is ambassador-at-large for the Eastern Partnership at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A career diplomat, he has served in numerous senior level ministry capacities, including from 2009 to 2010 as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. He served in senior positions at the Lativian embassies in Washington and Moscow. Ambassador Poikāns earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Latvia. He studied international politics, law and international trade at the Oxford University Foreign Service Program; diplomacy at the Foreign Service Academy in Islamabad, Pakistan. He is a 1997 graduate of the Marshall Center’s Executive Program.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.