Eastern Partnership Association Agreements: What You Need to Know
The Eastern Partnership Association Agreements are comprehensive trade and political agreements between the European Union (EU) and six Eastern European countries. These agreements aim to strengthen ties between the EU and its eastern neighbors and promote political stability, economic growth, and democratic reforms in the region.
The six countries involved in the Eastern Partnership initiative are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The partnership was launched in 2009, in response to the growing interest of the EU in its eastern neighbors and the political and economic challenges they faced after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Since then, the EU has signed Association Agreements with four of these countries – Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Armenia – while Azerbaijan and Belarus have only entered into cooperation agreements. These agreements include a range of provisions, from liberalizing trade and investment to promoting good governance and the rule of law.
One of the key elements of the Association Agreements is the establishment of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs) between the EU and the partner countries. These DCFTAs aim to remove barriers to trade and investment and help the Eastern partners integrate into the EU’s Single Market.
In addition to trade liberalization, the Association Agreements also cover other areas of cooperation, including energy, transport, environment, and social policies. The agreements also provide for closer political dialogue and cooperation on foreign and security policy issues.
The Eastern Partnership initiative has been seen as a success in many ways, as it has helped to strengthen ties between the EU and its eastern neighbors and has contributed to political and economic reforms in the region. However, the partnership has also faced several challenges, including the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and the difficult relationships between some of the partner countries and Russia.
There have also been concerns raised about the impact of the Association Agreements on the partner countries’ domestic policies and their relations with Russia. Some critics argue that the agreements have led to increased tensions with Russia and have undermined the partner countries’ sovereignty and independence.
Overall, the Eastern Partnership Association Agreements are an important part of the EU’s foreign policy, as they seek to promote stability and prosperity in the EU’s eastern neighborhood. However, the success of the partnership will depend on continued political and economic reforms in the partner countries and a commitment to dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Russia.