Eastern Partnership – A Virus of Freedom

Anna Kanopackaya, a presidential candidate of Belarus on 22 July spoke up for neutrality of the country and denouncement of the federal union treaty between Russia and Belarus. According to the candidate Belarus shall also le…

Anna Kanopackaya, a presidential candidate of Belarus on 22 July spoke up for neutrality of the country and denouncement of the federal union treaty between Russia and Belarus. According to the candidate Belarus shall also leave the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Moscow also is trying to rehabilitate structures of the USSR for a ‘new life’), terminate the lease agreement of these territories with Russia for military establishments and reach withdrawal of troops by Moscow.  ‘Belarus is a European country, an integral part of the European civilization. The European route to us means not flouncing between Moscow and Brussels but a wilful engagement into matters of the Old Continent as a full interested party’, the candidate made a strict statement. By the way, she has been not considered an ‘incurable opponent’ by the Minsk regime, that simply imprisoned the most ‘dangerous’ ones before elections.
The President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko, who is seeking for the sixth presidential cadencies in the meeting with activists of Minsk district on 29 June ‘in turn’ announced that his country under the current geopolitical circumstances was the only ally of Russia and therefore according to the extent of purchase of Russian natural gas it was the second after Germany. Besides, it processes lots of Russian oil. Moscow as if does not want to lose the neighbour in an economical point of view, because it would be a particularly severe impact on its internal politics.    
Making evaluation of relations with the European Union (EU) the Belarusian authoritarian stated that Europe made a lot of ‘evil’ by introducing sanctions, however Belarus withstood, ‘did not give up’ to the EU and now it has an opportunity to have a dialogue also in regards to the war in Ukraine. ‘Actually, there is no need to have hard feelings towards them. The most important thing is to cooperate in a fair manner’, A. Lukashenko summarized with dignity and added that he observes and leads a sovereign foreign policy, although he understands that he is caught between a rock and a hard place, two giants – Russia from one side and the EU – from the other. And a boiling ‘kettle’ from the south to Belarus – the fighting Ukraine.  
During the meeting on 10 July with representatives of national press A. Lukashenko indicated that changes (which are necessary, according to him) in the country should start with the Constitution but not Maidan. As if in case Belarusians start with ‘dignity revolution’ they would cross out their history. He is ready for everything, however not at the account of sovereignty and independence, especially when his country now is under the greatest pressure throughout its history. 
However, Belarus on the initiative of the leader that has been unreplaceable for 26 years is diving into electoral controversies. On 30 July Secretary of the National Security Council Andrei Ravkov after arrest of 33 soldiers of the private ‘Wagner army’ owned by the businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, titled as a cook of the Kremlin in the sanatorium close to Minsk announced that they already gave their evidence and told they were going to Belarus to ‘make revolutions’. Another two hundred attacking soldiers, who came from the eastern neighbour, are in search. Thus, it is not clear what the situation with the ‘only ally’ is.  
The candidate A. Kanopackaya maybe opened when she saw the progress of neighbours. Olha Stefanyshyna, Deputy Minister of Ukraine on the matters of Euro-Atlantic integration during the press conference ‘Ukraine and EU Treaty with the Association: Monitoring of Reforms in 2014-2019’ in Kiev on 15 March indicated a tremendous progress of her country in reach of  Euro-Atlantic integration. Withing five years Kiev fulfilled 41 percent of the reforms provided for in the treaty with the EU in almost 27 areas of legal relations. Ukraine is ready to become a part of the European system in a technical and legal point of view. O. Stefanyshyna told she was strictly convinced regarding membership of Ukraine in the EU. It was just a matter of time. The country has to make up its mind when it is strong enough and free for membership, because the EU is not a donor organization but an association of economically strong free and democratic states.   
According to the Deputy Minister of Ukraine, Ukraine is reaching level ‘2.0 of integration’ before the meeting Ukraine – EU that will be held in October. Kiev is expecting to sign agreements regarding common air space and second mission of the EU in Ukraine and preparation of the agreement regarding compliance of its industrial production with European standards (ACAA). In other words, to ‘non-visa regime’ for Ukrainian industry.
On 17 June the fifth president Petro Poroshenko at the invitation of Donald Tusk, President of the European People’s Party that makes the biggest fraction in the European Parliament (EP),  participated in the forum “East Partnership’ held in Brussels with politicians of the Old Continent such as President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, President of the Republic of Cyprus Nikos Anastasiades, heads of the governments of Croatia, Ireland, Latvia, Slovenia and Bulgaria and chairmen of parties sitting in the EP.   
The former president of Ukraine, who has been chased by law enforcement authorities in the motherland (most probably, for Euro integration activities – we wrote about this in the article ‘The ‚Fifth Columns’ of the Kremlin that Have not Disappeared Anywhere in Europe. I. The Baltic Nations also Save the Fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko from the Revenge of the Kremlin) thanked the EU, EP and the European People’s Party in particular for a constant active support of his country in its Euro integration attempts and also repellence against Moscow’s aggression. He also urged to support Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova that are outside the territory of the EU according to already settled algorithm of ‘Eastern Partnership’.
Once to support, it means support. Euro-Atlantic integration, despite scepticism of a part of expert community at the time being seems to experience the revival. On 19 June the EP in crushing preference (532 deputies voted for, 70 against and 63 abstained) supported recommendations for “Eastern Partnership’ politics presented by Petras Auštrevičius, representative of Lithuania, initiator of groups Let’s Renew Europe and Friends of European Ukraine in Brussels.   
6 paragraph postulates of documents have been approved as support for strengthening public institutions of countries participating in the ‘Eastern Partnership’ by setting up structures akin to the group of support to Ukraine operating now, to secure reform efficiency control of the membership in the EU, to help in reformation of the election system, to promote establishment of free economic and trade zones, gradual blending in of industrial sectors (energy, telecommunications, etc) to a common market of the EU, to improve cooperation in the sector of cyber security, to contribute to improvement of financial supervision, to promote closer relations of those participating in the ‘Eastern Partnership’ with the EU states in the sectors of transport, energy and digital communication, to sponsor infrastructure and investment projects, to contribute to education reforms, for instance, by establishing Eastern Partnership University in Ukraine, to activate cooperation in safety and defence areas, by paying a particular attention to regulation of regional conflicts (it’s a pity but there are plenty of them in states taking part in the ‘Eastern Partnership’ – Transnistria, Donbas, Eastern Ossetia, Abkhazia), to continue a dialogue with representatives of civil and democratic organizations by also establishing a regional centre designated for sharing experience of acting structures of the EU, such as such EU External Action Service East StratCom, to strengthen the EU missions in countries of the ‘Eastern Partnership’. And so on and so forth – as we can see all life is being covered.
To the benefit of the Euro-Atlantic integration of the post-soviet republics a proposal – assumption that appeared in questionnaires of the United States Congress on 11 July in regards to potential actions of Russia against American soldiers in Afghanistan should also be included so that counterblast of the USA against Moscow would be more efficient in case Ukraine and Georgia are accepted to NATO. As Ian Brzezinski, a senior fellow of the Atlantic Council told the people who attended the meeting in the Congress, it was necessary to express a stronger support to the objectives of Kiev and Tbilisi in Euro-Atlantic integration – expansion of military options of the Alliance will secure expansion of security in Europe. Uncertainty of the situation so far just increases geopolitical appetite of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
At the same time – on 12 July Ukraine became a member of NATO Enhanced Capabilities Program. On this occasion Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg said that it was an important step in partnership between Kiev and NATO in recognition of contribution of Ukraine to operations and missions of the Alliance. Being a member of the program enables a better access to NATO programs and training and more intensive exchange of information. To make it simple, it provides the same conditions as other states such as Finland, Sweden, Australia and Jordan participating in the program have been using.    
While life is going on, adequate politicians of our neighbour Belarus maybe are a bit jealous when/while ‘stuck’ A. Lukashenko sends amphibians to Minsk waters, special forces and combat vehicles to the streets and is desperately looking for enemies. We must understand that in this way he is getting ready for elections, which points to the crisis in this genre. Meanwhile more cautious post-soviet republics move forward following the example of the Baltic States.   
Arūnas Spraunius

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