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The EU initiated the Eastern Partnership in 2009, in order to build stronger relationships. This initiative was largely motivated by security concerns and hopes to encourage greater stability and prosperity on its borders, not to court potential members.

    The EU's Eastern Partnership Program was initiated by Poland and Sweden in 2009. The Program includes Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. It offers Partner Countries deepening cooperation with the EU in a number of areas, including facilitating the visa regime, enhancing energy cooperation, and opening free trade zones. Small projects on student exchange, environmental protection, and energy supplies will also be carried out as part of the program.

    Research findings from a UK ESRC research project examining the EU's relations with three Eastern Partnership member states, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova notes both conceptual and empirical dilemmas. First, conceptually the EU has limited uniform awareness of what it is trying to promote in its eastern neighbourhood under the aegis of 'shared values', 'collective norms' and `joint ownership'. Secondly, empirically, the EU seems to favour a `top-down' governance approach (based on rule/norm transfer and conditionality) in its relations with outsiders, which is clearly at odds with a voluntary idea of 'partnership', and explicitly limits the input of 'the other' in the process of reform.

A global elite gathering in the Crimea

YALTA, Ukraine (The Economist) Sept. 24, 2013 - Nearly seventy years ago Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt sat at the round table in Yalta's Livadia's palace and carved up the map of Europe. Last weekend, their ghosts must have been disturbed by the pow-wow of politicians, thinkers and businessmen who gathered in the same palace for the annual meeting of Yalta European Strategy, trying to reshape Europe one more time.

The elegant white palace combines Neo-Renaissance style with the light subtlety of Moorish architecture. Loaded with symbolism, it is the place Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian tycoon with a taste for intellectual debate, chose to set up his conference ten years ago. Hardly any speaker did not reflect on Yalta's history. But never before have these reflections been as fitting as this year. The future of Ukraine, a country of 48m people, and of Europe was being decided in real time. The Yalta conference, now in its tenth year, was a display of fierce diplomacy, formidable brain power and the precarious position of the European Union.

The guestbook read like a Who's Who of Europe. Mario Monti and Gerhard Schröder, a former prime minister of Italy and a former chancellor of Germany, along with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the IMF, were lamenting the lack of visionary and inspiring European leaders who could re-ignite the passion for a united Europe. Egemen Bagis, Turkey's chief negotiator with the EU, passionately lectured them on the benefits of fiscal discipline.

Lawrence Summers, a former American treasury secretary, and Robert Zoellick, an ex-head of the World Bank, were reflecting on the imbalances of the world economy. David Petraeus, a retired general and former head of the CIA, and Bill Richardson, a former energy secretary, talked about the shale-gas revolution that is changing the balance of power between Russia and the West. Mr Pinchuk himself was having a ball, moderating a session between Tony Blair and Bill Clinton.

Chocolate tycoon clashes with architect of trade war against him

YALTA (Kyiv Post) - It looked anything but sweet when Ukraine's top chocolate tycoon Petro Poroshenko (one of the sponsors of "the Orange Revolution") clashed publicly with Sergey Glaziev, adviser to Vladimir Putin who allegedly inspired the Russian president to start a trade war with Ukraine. The two men traded verbal jabs that reflected just how high passions run in the Russian-Ukrainian relationship at the moment, in the wake of a recent trade war.

The outlawed Ukrainian chocolates are in good company, through. In recent months and weeks, Lithuanian cheese, Moldovan wine and other foods were proclaimed dangerous by Russian health inspector Gennadiy Onishchenko. Even Belarus, Russia's close ally, was not spared as its milk was deemed dangerous for health.

This trick is widely viewed as a bully tactic to make nations more pliable in foreign policy issues ahead of the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, when partner nations intend to make steps towards integration with Europe.

Minister Sikorski on Ukraine's future at Yalta European Strategy meeting

The conference was attended by Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych, former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Sweden's top diplomat Carl Bildt. The agenda was dominated by the situation in countries of the EU's Eastern Partnership programme ahead of its November summit in Vilnius.

Special emphasis was placed on the possible signing at that summit of Ukraine's Association Agreement with the EU. In his address, the chief of Poland's diplomacy described the summit as the key to defining EU relations with Eastern Europe in the coming decades, and possibly even generations.

"The case of Yulia Timoshenko puts the signing of the agreement in Vilnius at great risk, which Ukraine cannot afford. Both President Yanukovych and Yulia Timoshenko need to do the right thing in the coming days," said Minister Sikorski.

by Oui on Mon Oct 14th, 2013 at 06:15:12 PM EST

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