EU to compare notes before Eastern Partnership summit
Today Luxembourg is hosting a meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union.
The negotiations on the EU's relations with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, the situation in Libya and Yemen, and the Iranian nuclear program negotiations will be discussed at the meeting.
In the afternoon the EU foreign ministers will hold talks with the foreign ministers of the Eastern Partnership. They will discuss preparations for the Eastern Partnership summit which will take place on 21-22 May in Riga, where Ukraine and Georgia rely on a decision to introduce a visa-free regime with the EU.
According to a member of the Azerbaijani parliament, the political analyst Rasim Musabekov, Azerbaijan has consistently adhered to the policy of building relations with the EU on a bilateral basis, without reference to any European programs. "Azerbaijan has recently signed an agreement on visa facilitation with the European Union, for us it is important, and it is actively cooperating with the EU on energy security. However, regarding the conclusion of any agreement under the 'Eastern Partnership', Azerbaijan does not see any benefits for itself at his stage," he said. Musabekov said that "we did not prepare such an association agreement between Azerbaijan and the EU, and we do not have to take a step forward", and then start to maneuver, as Ukraine and Armenia do.
The head of the Institute of Management Strategy, Petre Mamradze, told Vestnik Kavkaza that nothing has changed significantly for Georgia, which signed an Association Agreement with the EU. "Recently, there were the foreign ministers of Poland and Denmark in Tbilisi, and it was evident that they cannot promise Georgia anything at this stage, they can only provide emotional support and exhort them to work more and more. I want to emphasize that the holding of our government reforms, which will bring us closer to EU standards, is useful: Georgia will increase standards of living and democracy, the rule of law will be established. But the EU is not going to grow and Georgia will not get any special status," he explained.
Mamradze also noted that Georgia is beginning to feel the disadvantages of too closely cooperation with the EU in the framework of the 'Eastern Partnership'. "You know that Georgia has signed a free trade agreement with the EU. Those local experts, who have studied everything in detail and have called for it before, recently published the number of losses - tens of millions of dollars since August 2014. So, on the one hand, we have to work, to carry out reforms, not because the EU is an end in itself, but because Georgia as a state needs to be improved. On the other hand, we must be realistic about this and not think that the Riga summit, or anything else in the near future, will decide everything," he concluded.
The Director of the Armenian branch of the CIS Institute, Alexander Makarov, in his turn, said that since Armenia chose to integrate into the Eurasian structures, such as the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, its work with the EU in the framework of the 'Eastern Partnership' is dedicated to the development of the document on "cooperation in areas such as human rights, democratization, an improved public service system, interaction with civil society and so on."
"Accordingly, before the Riga Summit, they are talking about whether it is possible to prepare a document which captures not only the state of affairs in relations between the EU and Armenia, but also an opportunity to consolidate this cooperation in the framework of the agreement. The EU has realized that all the partners in the framework of the 'Eastern Partnership' cannot be treated equally and each state participating in the program the format of cooperation needs to be changed, taking into account both the desire and the possibility of interaction," Alexander Makarov concluded.