Eastern European Futures
In 2009, the European Union and six of its Eastern neighbours launched the Eastern Partnership (EaP) with the stated aim of “building a common area of shared democracy, prosperity, stability and increased cooperation.” A decade on, however, progress has been mixed. On the upside, three of the EU’s Eastern neighbours – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – have embarked on challenging democratic and economic transformations and have built, through far-reaching association, free trade and visa agreements, ever-closer ties with the EU. A fourth neighbour, Armenia, has recently set itself on a similarly positive path while two others, Azerbaijan and Belarus, remain committed to an authoritarian status quo that forecloses fully developed relations and cooperation with the EU. Adding to this complexity is Russia, neighbour to both the EU and its Eastern partners, which has increasingly and aggressively asserted itself across the Eastern Partnership region over the last years.
As the Eastern Partnership has entered its second decade, challenging questions remain and arise as to the future of Eastern Europe. For this reason, the EU and its partners have undertaken a comprehensive review of this policy framework, with revisions to be announced at an EU-EaP summit later this year. Numerous experts from the EU and the Eastern Partnership have contributed their assessments coupled with recommendations for improving this regional initiative. This scenario report wishes to enrich the debate and decision-making by tracing key dynamics and charting possible trajectories for Eastern Europe to take over the coming ten years