EASTERN PARTNERSHIP Breaking news from the Eurasian Front: The Illusion Promised by Moscow

Policy Brief 21 CRPE Author: Stanislav SECRIERU


The Romanian Center for European Policies (RCEP) launches the “Illusion of the Eurasian Integration” policy brief by Stanislav Secrieru, an analysis of Moscow’shottest trends and decisionswhich attempts, through tough economic pressures, to keep away from European Union countries like Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.

Armenia confirmed this month its intention to join the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia (BKR – CU), and trends have emergedfrom Georgia, one of the most active countries in promoting EU integration, which do not exclude the participation in the project of Moscow.

What is the purpose of Russia? Moscow aims for the most advanced participants of the Eastern Partnership (EP) in order to prevent initialing / signing the Association Agreement at the summit in Vilnius (28 to 29 November 2013) and simultaneously strives to force their accession to the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia (later the Eurasian Union), thus limiting any future attempt to escape from its influence.

This analysis shows why the Eurasian integration is an illusion detrimental not only to Russia’s neighbors, but for Russia itself. The main arguments:

• The project of the Eurasian Union is highly customized and supranational institutions (Eurasian Economic Commission) do not enjoy the autonomy and competencies of the European Commission.

• The pull of the project is President Putin, a politician whois tired of his 13 years in power, drained of energy and visibly old. Vladimir Putin passed the tip of his political career and proved that he was unable to reinvent itself after taking office as president in 2012.

• Colleagues from the Union: The authoritarian nature of political regimes in Kazakhstan and Belarus makes the Russian project as a whole to depend on the changes in the perception of the two dictators (used to approach or depart from Moscow depending on how this threatens their internal control) .

• Russia’s offer is limited, misleading and has a short shelf life. For example, the low price of natural gas. Russia is to raise the domestic gas prices, automatically increasing the gas price for member states of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia, with the promise of receiving the domestic price of Russian gas.

• Russia’s offer is supplemented by constraints, threats and economic blackmail. Russia instills fear, which cannot be a solid foundation for regional economic cooperation project.

Stanislav SECRIERU is an affiliate expert of RCEP and scholar of the New Europe College, within the “Black Sea Link Fellowship” programme. He has a PhD in Political Science (National School of Political Science and Public Administration). He has research experience in the NATO Defense College (Rome) and the Institute for European Politics (Berlin). He was involved in various research projects at the European Council on Foreign Relations (London), DemosEuropa (Warsaw), Europeum (Prague), Heinrich Böll Foundation (Berlin), and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (Helsinki). He has extensive research experience in post-Soviet space. Recently, he was the co-author of “South Caucasus 20 years later: Political Regimes, Security and Energy.”