In November 2013 Vilnius will host the summit of Eastern Partnership, the EU program on closer cooperation with the post-Soviet countries which is operating since May 2009. The participants of the program are Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. In recent times Belarus has showed active interest to Eastern Partnership. Despite political contradictions, the leadership of the country expects invitation to Vilnius from the EU.
Spreading of political and economic Western influence on the former Soviet republics concerns the Russian Federation, especially in the context of development of the Eurasian Economic Union project. According to the chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs Alexei Pushkov, the European Union recognizes Eurasian integration as a factor of European politics.
“Several years ago Europe and the United States treated it only skeptically. They didn’t believe in prospects for Eurasian integration. Today the situation is different. At the same time, we should realize that the European Union has its own policy toward post-Soviet space. The policy requires intensive improvement of the EU’s influence and makes Russia move over in the region. We shouldn’t have illusions,” Pushkov says.
Alexei Pushkov is sure that the EU recognizes the Customs Union not because it wants to, but because the CU is a real economic and integration political factor: “The European Union has no choice. On the other hand, the EU continues its firm line on geopolitical rivalry with Russia.”
Full article: New geopolitical rivalry between Europe and Russia (Vestnik Kavkaza)