Rumjana Zheleva, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Nicu Popescu, policy fellow at ECFR, London
Andrew Wilson, policy fellow at ECFR, London
Georgi Kamov, Member of the Executive Board of EIRI, Sofia
Jarosław Dziedzic, Eastern Department, MFA, Poland
Vessela Tcherneva, Head of ECFR Sofia Office
The six eastern neighbours of the European Union – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan — are in the middle of the worst economic and political disarray they have faced since achieving independence in 1991. Over the past year the war in Georgia in August 2008, the Ukrainian gas crisis in January 2009 and the burning of the Moldovan parliament after the April 2009 elections have all dominated the front pages of European newspapers. The latest iteration of the EU’s strategy comes in the form of the “Eastern Partnership” (EaP), a development of the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP).
What should be the role of the Southeast European member states in this process, how to reconcile these existing initiatives concerning the Neighbourhood and how to reinforce their positive impact?