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Balance Between the Eastern and Western Direction in the EU

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Balance Between the Eastern and Western Direction in the EU Powered By Docstoc
					       REPORT BY JUOZAS JARUŠEVIČIUS, MEMBER OF THE LITHUANIAN
                 DELEGATION TO THE BALTIC ASSEMBLY,
       BALANCE BETWEEN THE EASTERN AND SOUTHERN DIRECTION IN
                    THE EU NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY
                         23 NOVEMBER 2007 RIGA

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was born on the eve of the largest wave of
enlargement in EU history. This wave moved the EU borders far to the East bringing the EU new
neighbours and setting it a difficult task – to give a new definition to the relations with the
neighbours and to establish new mutually beneficial forms of cooperation. The ENP has declared
an ambitious objective to avoid a new division in Europe at the new Eastern border. This
objective was to be implemented by allowing EU neighbors to make use of the possibilities
ensured by EU stability, security and prosperity through enhanced political, security, economic
and cultural cooperation rather than a full-fledged membership. The values of democracy, rule of
law, good governance, respect to human rights, common interests, including sustainable
development, promoted by the ENP are equally important. The implementation of the ENP aims
at financial and technical support to economic and political reforms of neighbour countries, the
opening of the markets and gradually allowing them to participate in Community programmes.
Bilateral neighbourhood action plans establishing areas of cooperation and reform priorities for
neighbour countries have become the main instrument of the policy.

The ENP embraced all EU neighbours – the Mediterranean, North African, Central Eastern, and
Eastern European countries and although in the context of the ENP, the EU formally treated them
equally, the new policy initially included the preconditions for the existence of two dimensions –
Southern and Eastern. It is noteworthy that already in 2002 during the Danish Presidency of the
EU there was an attempt to politically separate Eastern European neighbours from the Southern
neighbours that had already been developing their relations with the EU in the framework of the
so called Barcelona Process. However, the Southern EU Member States opposed it fearing a
possibly reduced political attention to and funding for their Southern neighbours. In reality, the
Southern Dimension countries had long before been in the scope of EU’s political attention while
the Eastern Dimension countries became neighbours only after the last EU enlargement to the
East and were as if newly discovered. On the other hand, it is the new Eastern neighbours that
were the reason for the creation of the ENP. This fact is a strong argument for giving a proper
attention to the Eastern direction in the neighbourhood policy and seeking a better balance
between the two directions.

The two directions of the ENP are related to the regions with essential differences. The Eastern
Dimension countries are direct EU neighbours in Europe (countries in the Southern Caucasus
border on Turkey, EU candidate country), while the countries of the Southern direction in reality
are not only EU but also Europe’s neighbours situated on a different continent (Africa) or on the
other shore of the Mediterranean Sea and are they not European countries geographically.

Eastern Dimension countries (especially Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, countries of the Southern
Caucasus) have clearly expressed their ambition to become EU Member States in future whereas
Southern Dimension countries have no practical basis for this.

In the beginning of the ENP the cooperation with the countries of the two directions was different
in nature. The Southern direction had already enjoyed clearly multilateral (regional) cooperation
and the Eastern direction, on the contrary, was based on bilateral cooperation between an
individual country and the EU. However, both directions have gradually acquired common
features. The model of bilateral relations in the ENP has complemented the multinational


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character of the Southern direction and a regional component appeared in the Eastern trend when
the Commission published an important Black Sea Synergy initiative at the end of 2006.

Lately the development of the ENP has been controversial and characteristic of a complex
dynamics. It is not only the differences in positions and expectations of EU Southern Members
States and new EU Members States from the East that so far has prevented the establishment of a
stable balance between the two directions of the ENP. The EU financial instruments neither
promote a better balance between the two dimensions. The EU will allocate 11.2 billion euros for
the Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument in 2007-2013. Southern countries will receive
around 70% of the funds while Eastern countries will get 30%. Sometimes the arguments say that
the funds were allocated objectively since according to the calculation per capita 3.8 euros go to
the East and 3.4 euros go to the South. Nonetheless this alleged arithmetic balance cannot replace
the real balance based on the substantial understanding of the importance of EU vital interests.
This understanding is to be reached yet.

The ENP provides favorable conditions to expand the area of democracy, political stability, and
prosperity to the East. However, the EU must have a position that would not prevent the
perspective of a full-fledged EU membership for the Eastern partners. EU’s strict withdrawal
from further enlargement would encourage Russia to pursue aggressive policy in relation to these
countries seeking to keep them inside its sphere of influence. Whereas EU’s positive stance on a
future membership of the Eastern Dimension countries of the ENP, be it related to the fulfillment
of certain development requirements, will give a positive stimulus for them to assume and
implement the values promoted by the EU.

The ENP, especially EU policy in the East has become one of the major areas of European policy
for the majority of new EU Member States, since it is closely related to their foreign and security
policy interests. Therefore, the Baltic States and other Eastern EU Members States constantly
stress the necessity to keep the doors open for the Eastern direction countries and that the ENP
should become the initial stage of the enlargement process rather than its substitute. The said
Member States express a coherent support for the policy of deepening relations with Eastern EU
neighbours and emphasize a strategic importance of these countries and the promotion of their
European orientation. Thanks to the efforts and the initiative of Lithuania and other Baltic States,
the Southern Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) were also included into the
European Neighbourhood Policy in 2004. Much has been achieved in EU policy towards the
Eastern neighbourhood. There has been a qualitative change of EU’s attitude towards the Eastern
Europe. Today the EU does not only observe the developments in the Eastern neighbourhood but
also takes part in them. This is a considerable achievement of the Baltic States and likeminded
countries. However, we must not ease ourselves and be content with our achievements. It is
especially important to instill a common understanding that it is genuinely important to avoid a
new division of Europe and the marking of a strict line on the Eastern EU border. This strategic
importance of the Eastern direction justifies the efforts to give it more emphasis, which should not
be considered excessive or breaking the balance between the two directions.

The Baltic States, Poland, and other new Members States aiming at ensuring security and stability
in their neighbourhood, have not only actively promoted the participation of the Eastern European
countries (especially, Ukraine, Moldova, and the Southern Caucasus) in the processes of the
European integration but have also been actively engaged in the ENP, especially in the initiatives
strengthening its Eastern Dimension. The discussion was initiated in the EU in 2006 on the need
to review the ENP after the assessment of its three-year implementation experience. In August the
same year, Lithuania formulated and submitted its proposals on the ENP reform. The most
noteworthy are the following:


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       During the reform of the ENP to make a conceptual difference between ‘Europe’s
       neighbours’ in Northern Africa and the Middle East and ‘Neighbours in Europe’, i.e.
       Eastern European countries whose full EU membership perspective cannot be denied.
       However, due to the lack of consensus among the Member States on the enlargement
       policy, it is not obligatory to discuss the membership in a short or medium term.
       Neighbourhood plans are a useful but an insufficient measure to motivate Eastern
       neighbours to carry out necessary reforms; ‘integration agreements’ proposed by Lithuania
       could serve the purpose that could lead to a closer relation between the reforms and the
       EU and deepen mutual relations, including 1. Free trade, integration into the internal
       market, and legal harmonization; 2. Agreements in the areas of energy, transport, and
       easing visa regime, etc.; 3. Closer institutional cooperation; 4. Closer cooperation in the
       area of Common Foreign and Security Policy; 5. Encouraging regional cooperation among
       Eastern European countries; 6. Increased financial aid, technical support and the opening
       of Community programmes.

I am delighted to note that the European Commission Communication on the Strengthening of the
European Neighbourhood Policy published in December 2006 reflects a large number of
Lithuanian proposals:

             Distinguishes the concept of European neighbours (i.e. Eastern European
             neighbours) from the general category of ENP partners;
             States that the EU will remain attractive only by constantly renewing itself and
             continuing the Open Door Policy;
             Strengthens the principle of the differentiation among neighbourhood countries,
             providing for additional incentives for countries that implement their reforms
             successfully;
             Proposes a cooperation package that ensures closer relations between neighbour
             countries and the EU (comprehensive free trade agreements; promotion of economic
             integration, direct human contacts, eased visa regime by opening EU programmes in
             the area of education, science, etc);
             ENP partner countries will be able to participate in the activity of EU agencies and
             certain EU programmes.

In general, the European Commission initiative on the Black Sea Synergy presented in April this
year that should provide the ENP with the regional dimension in the Eastern area may be
evaluated positively. The Black Sea Synergy could become an effective tool for strengthening
ENP cooperation. However, this should hardly serve as the basis for the Organization of the Black
Sea Economic Cooperation, which is seen as controversial and which faces more and more
attempts of influence from Russia, which does not participate in the neighbourhood policy.

In our opinion, we need to seek for political approval for the ideas laid down in the
Communication in all EU Member States. For this purpose we need to build a coalition of
likeminded countries, as well as through the parliamentary dimension and political parties. For
example, let us look at visa policy. As you may know, when Lithuania and other new Member
States join the Schengen zone, current preferential visa agreements with certain neighbour
countries will be cancelled and visa prices for their citizens will increase substantially. As a result
this will not only make it more difficult and more expensive for them to enter the Schengen area
but also will lead to the weakening of European values in the neighbourhood. Taking this into
consideration, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania adopted a Resolution on 24 October last
year inviting to search for various means and measures, including unilateral ones, to ease the visa
regime for the residents of neighbour countries. Unfortunately, this problem has not been solved
yet.

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Due to a complicated situation of EU energy security, energy cooperation becomes increasingly
important for EU’s relations with neighbour countries. Thus, a developing EU energy
diversification policy will greatly affect the balance between the Eastern and Southern direction of
the ENP. It is worthwhile mentioning that the Communication indicates transport and energy as
priority areas of cooperation with the ENP countries. Additional multilateral agreements in the
areas of transport and energy, strengthening of existing agreements, the expansion of EU energy
and transport networks to neighbour countries and the interoperability of these networks are
among the most important issues in the enhanced bilateral and multilateral dialogue with the ENP
partners. Among the major directions of the diversification of EU energy resources the
Communication indicates the Caspian Sea basin (in the East), and the Mediterranean region,
including North Africa (in the South).

Currently, Portugal that has taken on EU presidency and other Southern EU Member States are
almost completely dependant on natural gas from Northern Africa but consider this region to be
an alternative to the unstable Middle East and Russia. This region is historically and culturally
familiar to the old EU Member States, especially the Southern ones, and the enhanced political
influence in the region together with energy policy will not result in any confrontation with
Russia, the country that a part of Member States is particularly trying to bypass in the East. At the
end of the Portuguese Presidency, EU – Northern Africa summit meeting is planned, where
institutional measures will possibly be taken for energy partnership between Northern Africa and
the EU.

Nonetheless, due to a great dependence of Southern EU Member States on gas from Northern
Africa, a possible energy link between the Caspian Sea basin and the EU seems particularly
promising. It is important to note that the infrastructure of the recovery of energy resources in the
Caspian Sea basin is better developed than in Northern Africa and EU’s active and effective
policy in the region could reduce Russia’s influence, which it has been using so far to prevent any
new energy initiatives without major restriction. An agreement signed by Lithuania, Poland and
three countries of Eastern direction (Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Georgia) in Vilnius on the
construction a new oil pipeline Odesa-Brodai-Polotsk-Gdansk that bypasses Russia is an
important step in this direction. This would open the way for Caspian oil to Eastern EU Member
States bypassing Russia and become the first route in the region alternative to Russian resources.
The fact that a large part of vital energy resources for Europe are delivered through the territory of
Eastern ENP countries increases their significance.

An evident trend of the Portuguese Presidency of an increased EU attention to the Southern
Dimension of the ENP may develop further in the second half of 2008 during the French
Presidency. In February this year France suggested a possibility to establish the Mediterranean
Union that would cover the cooperation of the EU and Southern ENP countries in the area of
economy, security, fight against terrorism, and illegal migration and at the end of October this
ambitious idea was officially proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy, the President of France, in his
resonant speech delivered in Tangier. He declared that countries of the Mediterranean region must
unite in order to prevent this cradle of civilization from becoming the hotbed of war between
civilizations.

Today we claim that the EU must remain open and we insistently and continually support such a
position. Our Eastern neighbours will face a thorny road to the EU but we have to use our
experience and opportunities to help them. Valdas Adamkus, the President of Lithuania, has
emphasized that small countries may become an instrumental example of European leadership.
We are well familiar with the Eastern region and the way of thinking of its people thus we can
help the EU to open attractive markets in the Eastern region for investment and trade, to search

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for means of energy security and resource diversification. Importantly, our specialists are valued
in the Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus much more than experienced Western experts.

We have multiple interests in the Eastern neighbourhood policy, which includes trade, energy,
movement of persons, and security issues. We are interested in the maximum liberalization of
existing trade regimes, one of our priorities is the reduction of new visa borders. However, EU
Members States and Institutions will not support our initiatives in relation to Eastern
neighbourhood only because it is important for us. Much depends on the ability to relate one’s
interests to those of other countries. It is necessary to remember one of the cornerstones of the EU
– the solidarity of its Members States and to avoid the so-called blanket pulling to one’s side.
Nonetheless, Eastern EU Member States must adequately support EU initiatives in the Southern
direction not only hoping to get the support for their initiatives in return. We must not forget that
the ENP helps our states to actively maintain our relations not only with traditional partners in the
Eastern Europe but also with the Mediterranean countries, which we are less familiar with, and to
engage in international processes and expand our role in regional as well as in global cooperation.

Concluding my report, I will quote the speech of Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania,
delivered in Lisbon at the end of May this year:

Sometimes it seems that Southern and Eastern strategic directions compete in the European
foreign policy, but we have to dispel this myth and seek cooperation with EU border countries
developing the European Neighbourhood Policy and enriching it with new initiatives. The
attention and the orientation of the EU should not turn to the East of the South depending on the
presidency of the Northern or Southern EU border Member State. We must create a ring of
friends to surround the European Union and have neighbours that democratically manage their
states, implement reforms and are willing to cooperate.

1. CONCLUSIONS

   1. The ENP occurred in order to avoid further EU enlargement to the East and a related risk
      that the block would become difficult to manage.
   2. The ENP uses the mechanism of imposing conditions and applying incentives for our
      neighbours. The absence of membership in the list of incentives could weaken the
      motivation of Eastern partners of the policy to carry out political, social, economic, and
      legal reforms, whose domestic implementation costs are often rather high.
   3. Inside the ENP two geographical dimensions have been objectively formed: Eastern and
      Southern, whose stable balance is prevented by different perspectives of EU membership
      for the countries, old traditions of cooperation, difference in the positions of EU Member
      States, and funding allocated by the EU.
   4. Cooperation in the energy sector will greatly affect the balance between the directions of
      the ENP.
   5. We support the proposals presented by the European Commission at the end of 2006 on he
      strengthening of the ENP, they reflect a large part of Lithuania’s proposals.
   6. Based on their special historic relations with Eastern partners of the ENP and the
      experience of the accession to the EU, the Baltic States play an important role in
      implementing the ENP.
   7. An exaggerated competition between the two directions of the ENP could damage the
      cohesion of EU Member States and mutual solidarity resulting in reduced effectiveness of
      the ENP.




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