22nd May 2022


EU leaders to raise alarm on eastern 'destabilisation'

  • Russia has been waging an undeclared war on Ukraine for seven years (Photo: Christopher Bobyn)
Listen to article

EU leaders and five neighbours aim to raise alarm on "continuous destabilisation" in eastern Europe at a summit in Brussels next Wednesday (15 December).

"We remain deeply concerned about the continuous destabilisation and violations of the principles of international law in many parts of the EaP [Eastern Partnership] region including the Black Sea area," they plan to say, according to a draft summit communiqué dated 7 December and seen by EUobserver.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

They also planned to "call for renewed efforts to promote the peaceful settlement of unresolved conflicts" and "adherence to the principle of non-use of force," the draft said.

The alarm comes after Russia recently surged forces near Ukraine's borders and amped up aggressive rhetoric.

It also comes after Azerbaijan reconquered the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Armenia by war last year.

EU leaders regularly meet with Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Moldovan, and Ukrainian ones in efforts to build closer ties with their "eastern partners".

Belarus used to send ministers.

But it walked out of the group in June and began trafficking migrants from the Middle East to EU borders in what Europe has called "hybrid warfare", further heightening tension in the region.

And the EU27+5 pledged to jointly tackle "irregular migration, including the use of migrants for political purposes", their draft statement noted.

The joint communiqué was to "acknowledge the European aspirations", of Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, which want to join the EU.

Leaders also planned to "reaffirm the sovereign right of each partner to choose the level of ambition ... to which it aspires in its relations with the European Union", after years of Russian efforts to stymie closer ties between the EU and the former Soviet republics.

Amid the hard-power threats to regional stability, the summit was to underline the EU's soft-power role.

The EU has never promised to take in Georgia, Moldova, or Ukraine the way it promised enlargement to Western Balkan states.

But it has put in place "deep" free-trade accords and visa-free travel with all three.

"Opening of visa-liberalisation dialogues could be considered with Armenia and Azerbaijan" in future, the draft summit conclusions noted.

They welcomed "mutual recognition of the Covid-19 digital certificates in place for Armenia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, and soon for Azerbaijan, allowing for safer and easier travel to and from the EU".

And they spoke of a possible "a common international [phone] roaming space", helping people to stay in touch across borders without paying high prices.

"We stress that this is a constructive partnership, which is not directed against anyone," the draft statement said.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan as well as Belarus has long stood out in the EU's eastern club for its authoritarian regime.

But despite previous empty promises, Azerbaijan's president Ilham Aliyev was to be "bound by our joint determination to further strengthen democracy and the rule of law in our societies", according to the draft statement he planned to sign.

He was also to help "eradicate hate speech and revanchist sentiments, promote and mainstream gender equality, [and] protect human rights", the declaration said.

EU skirts pushbacks, suggests people seek asylum in Belarus

The EU Commission presented a proposal to allow relaxing EU asylum laws in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia for six months. It says all rights will be respected - but deflected questions on whether a Polish law on pushbacks complies.


The EU Eastern Partnership summit - a rethink needed

For the sixth Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on Wednesday, the EU should better differentiate between slow and fast reformers, deepen integration of the 'Association Trio' (Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia), and address the burning security issues in eastern Europe.

EU states warn of looming food-price crisis

Prices of cereals, fertilisers, and oilseed have shot up drastically in several European markets due to Russia's war on Ukraine, prompting some member states to seek EU aid.

EU plans to jointly invest in defence capabilities

EU countries need to refill stockpiles after several member states supplied weapons to Ukraine in its fight with Russia, and to phase out existing Soviet-era weapons systems, and reinforce air defence.


Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow

Vladimir Putin's Ukraine war has threatened to be a public relations disaster for hard-right gatherings like the Conservative Political Action Conference — now meeting in Budapest and featuring Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who remains highly-cordial with the Kremlin.


Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?

Valdimir Putin's equivalent to Nato — the Collective Security Treaty Organization of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Belarus — is convening in Moscow next week to give cover that Russia is not alone in its war against Ukraine.

News in Brief

  1. UK to send 'hundreds' of migrants to Rwanda each year
  2. Norwegian knife attacks were domestic dispute
  3. Sweden hits back at Turkey's 'disinformation' in Nato bid
  4. Germany's Schröder gives up one of two Russia jobs
  5. G7 countries pledge €18bn in financial aid for Ukraine
  6. Italian unions strike in protest over military aid for Ukraine
  7. Russia cuts gas supply to Finland
  8. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. What Europe still needs to do to save its bees
  2. Remembering Falcone: How Italy almost became a narco-state
  3. Economic worries and Hungary on the spot Next WEEK
  4. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  5. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  6. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  7. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  8. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us