¹ 5 - 2014
Gaman-Golutvina O.V., Ponomaryova Ye.G., Shishelina L.N.

EU’s Eastern Partnership: Rival Development Scenarios

The events in Ukraine in 2013-2014 have come to a major geopolitical crisis in Eurasia since the beginning of the 21st century, which both resulted in the collapse of Ukraine’s economy and government system and determined territorial disintegration of the country. This, to say the least, tragedy triggered a revision of the entire system of international relations, making any dialogue between Russia, the EU and the US on the same terms no longer possible. The crisis was ignited by the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) initiative aimed at six former USSR republics: Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The conflict-prone content of the EU program (with the Vilnius summit in November 2013 at its peak) has intensified systemic tensions of post-Soviet Ukraine which degenerated into a largescale confrontation between Russia, on one side, and the EU and the US, on the other. Ukraine’s future is no longer Ukraine’s own business, but rather a pretext for and a context of a global restructuring of the geopolitical architecture. Amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine that has drawn a borderline in terms of Russia / the West in modern politics, of special interest is the Eastern Partnership program that provoked such a large-scale international convulsion. Studying the content, ideas and implementation mechanisms of the program shows its underlying anti-Russian nature: the current EaP policy based on the opposition between Russia and Europe disrupts sustainable regional cooperation and paves the way for destabilization on the EU’s eastern borders. On the other hand, there is every reason to assume that during Latvia’s presidency in the EU and while preparing for the EaP summit in Riga, the program could be seriously corrected. Changes in the socio-economic and political situation both in the core of Europe and Latvia itself are an obvious reason for resetting the program. Analysis of key factors and drivers of the processes in the EU and over the EaP program has highlighted eight possible scenarios of future development of a larger Europe. Which path to choose largely depends on Latvia itself, its position and its leadership’s political will. The confrontational model of the EaP is in the interests of the incumbent authorities of the country. On the other hand, there are people who advocate a completely different approach based on the ideas of integration, convergence and pragmatism leading to minimizing foreignpolicy and economic risks and economic growth thanks to cooperation between European and Eurasian economic spaces. However, if the Eastern Partnership will become a geopolitical “stitch” joining Russia and the EU and shaping a truly larger Europe, or will remain a political and economic buffer and a fault line in the near future, depends on the political situation in Latvia, particularly the outcome of the parliamentary election