Policy Memos

The EU's Eastern Partnership: Why It May Help Democracy Promotion and How the United States Can Help Move It Forward

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The European Union’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) initiative, generally welcomed on both sides of the Atlantic as a positive step toward drawing the countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus into the Western orbit, has also received its share of bad press. According to critics, the EU has failed to give these countries a clear European perspective, instead engaging them in a modified version of Cold War-era Ostpolitik. I argue, however, that the EaP, while modest in scope and scale, is an opportunity over the long term to encourage not only the modernization and democratization of partner states, but also transatlantic democracy promotion efforts and the advancement of U.S. interests in the region. Using the experience of Belarus, I discuss how the EaP could be further fine-tuned to indirectly promote democracy and give U.S. policy in the region a new sense of direction after its “post-orange” democracy promotion agenda has stumbled. [...]

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