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The European Union Goes East

Friday, April 1, 2011

November 22, 2010, was an inauspicious day to hold a summit in Brussels between the European Union and Ukraine. Officials were still straggling back from Lisbon after the previous weekend’s nato and eu summits, and they were dreading the looming financial crisis in Ireland and the possibility of conflict in Korea.

Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych showed up for the event, accompanied by a small delegation of ministers. The twin European Union presidents, José Manuel Durão Barroso and Herman Achille Van Rompuy, were there too, as were Catherine Ashton, the new head of the unfortunately named External Action Service, and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule. Only eight or at most ten officials had the energy to actually reach the summit. And yet by Monday evening, the European Union had taken the first real step in a new policy towards its eastern neighbors. As a part of the obscure Eastern Partnership, the eu agreed to give Ukraine an action plan for visa liberalization, a promise to accelerate comprehensive free trade talks, and a renewed commitment to invest billions of euros in the gas transit system of Ukraine.

To put these technical agreements in perspective, one must think back to the nato summit in Bucharest in April 2008 when nato’s modest Membership Action Plan was vehemently denied to both Ukraine and Georgia. At the Bucharest meeting, nato and to a considerable extent the United States abdicated responsibility for the engagement and integration in Europe of the new democracies in Europe’s east. A few months later, in August 2008, war between Russia and Georgia underlined the obvious point: nato and the United States had no policy or even good ideas about how post-Soviet democracies would overcome their pasts and go about drawing closer to Europe.

Moscow, on the other hand, had lots of ideas. Immediately after his election as President of Ukraine in February 2010, Victor Yanukovych was visited repeatedly by Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. These visits resulted in, to name but a few of the immediate Russia-Ukrainian bilateral agreements, deals on gas prices, nuclear power, military transport, and an extended lease on Russia’s Crimean naval base. Weeks after the Russian-Ukrainian agreements had been signed in Kharkiv, Washington finally dispatched an assistant secretary to Ukraine to suggest that America could help with energy exploration or, perhaps, election reform. By June 2010, otherwise sensible think tanks in Washington and Brussels were seriously debating whether Ukraine might have departed the Euro-Atlantic world entirely and returned to some trade association of Slavic tribes on the Russian steppe.

And this is what makes the November 22nd meeting so remarkable: A roomful of unelected officials unexpectedly launched a policy aimed at the comprehensive engagement of Europe’s east. With a single communiqué, a handful of European bureaucrats in Brussels brought Kiev into a closer association with European institutions than it has had in hundreds of years, if ever.

What is the eu up to in Europe’s east?

To answer this question, we must look at how Europe’s east and relations between Europe and Russia have been changing in the past twenty years and how incremental change has now produced a different political structure which, in turn, necessitates new policy in Brussels. Since 1989, the relatively stable geopolitical competition in and for Eastern Europe which lasted for most of the 20th century has given way to a more ambiguous geoeconomic problem. The traditional instruments of Western power — nato first and foremost, but also osce, the un, and the Minsk Group process — have proven to have little or no influence in the post-Soviet countries nearest to classical Europe in the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century.1

In a nutshell, those soft powers in which the European Union has long and annoyingly claimed a comparative advantage (if not a complete monopoly) appear to have finally supplanted the harder power of the United States, which protected Western Europe from 1945 to 1989. It is now obvious that whether or not there will ever be a wider Europe to include the east — a completed Europe, a Europe that is in the fullest meaning whole, free and at peace — will be decided on the uncertain terrain of economics, trade, pipelines, and visas. More importantly, the final contours of Europe and its position in world politics will depend on European decisions and on the strength of Europe’s institutions to a degree that would not have been true even a few years ago. Not to put too fine a point on it, but all of the perennial problems in European history hinge on whether the European Union — the benchwarmer of European history and free rider extraordinaire — can play the part of an enlightened Great Power east of the Vistula, the Carpathian Mountains, and the Bosphorus for the rest of this decade.

There are several questions that follow from the problem of how the European Union responds to the challenge of building an “eastern policy” in a geoeconomic period of history, not to mention in the midst of a major recession. First, what problem is an eastern policy supposed to solve? What instruments will Europe use to execute its eastern policy? What could go wrong in the plan to bring Europe’s east closer to Europe? And, finally, how can Europe’s leaders explain to skeptical European voters why the eastern policy is important for the future of Western Europe?

The strategic problem of the east

In astronomy, “syzygy” refers to the alignment of three celestial bodies in a straight line. It turns out to be a rare occurrence. If one were to think of Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine as celestial bodies in the gravitational system of Europe, recent developments might seem to suggest a disturbing alignment.

Russia’s revisionist views of European institutions and order are very well known. Whatever the merit or lack of merit of Russian policy statements on a sphere of Russian influence, the extraterritorial rights of the Russian peoples, or a new European security architecture, their strategic meaning is that Russia defines itself as a state which differentiates itself from Europe and contrasts its policies with those of Europe. Whereas the eu is an organization of democracies, Russia is a sovereign democracy. Whereas the eu is a direct descendant of the Coal and Steel Community, which coded free markets and the free movement of peoples into the dna of modern Europe, modern Russia is increasingly dirigiste and tends to still command its strategic industries. In a word, Russia is a historically European state which now defines itself in non- or counter-European terms.

Turkey has recently undergone an analogous, if not completely similar change in its orientation towards Europe. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has promulgated a role for Turkey as a regional power in the greater Middle East and even in the Islamic world, a power without enemies among its non-European neighbors — with the possible exception of Israel, which is arguably its most European neighbor. Suffice to say, the foreign policy aspirations of the Erdogan-Davutoglu government are not typical of European states in pursuit of European integration. These policies are more appropriately seen as a significant development in Turkey’s search for a modern, post-Kemalist identity, which for the present is silent on what role Europe will play in its future. While it would be a major error to say that Turkey is becoming an anti-European state, it is probably fair to say that Turkey is not aligned with mainstream European policies and institutions. As is the case with Russia, the vocabulary defining Turkey today is non- and often counter-European.

Ukraine’s strategic development has been more confusing and ambiguous than that of either Russia or Turkey. As a consequence of the Orange Revolution, Ukraine discarded the multi-vector policies of the Kuchma years in favor of a half-hearted, romantic appeal for European integration — romantic in the case of President Viktor Yushchenko, but half-hearted in the implementation of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. In the event, Ukraine’s European aspirations crashed at the nato Summit in Bucharest and burned in the vitriolic instability of the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko coalition. With the election of Victor Yanukovych in February 2010, Ukraine adopted a third policy for which its leaders have struggled to find a name. At first, the policy was called “neutrality,” which associated Ukraine with both Switzerland and Finland. Then it was changed to “nonaligned,” which evoked memories of the Bandung Summit and the nonaligned movement. Neither reference was intended, and today Ukraine refers to itself awkwardly as “nonbloc.” Despite the inelegant terminology, “nonbloc” accurately describes the current status of Ukraine as not a member of European institutions.

In the history of Europe since the Peace of Westphalia, it is extremely rare to find the three largest states of the continent’s east all aligned in one way or another with non-European identity. Together, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine represent over 250  million people or over one third of all European peoples. Collectively, their militaries are larger and presumably more powerful than those of all other European states combined, and together they control the vast majority of all the energy supply routes to Europe over land.

This brings us to the meaning of the original Greek word syzygos, from which syzygy is derived. It means “yoked together,” which invites the question: What if the three great eastern states would become yoked together in their nonaligned, nonbloc, non-European alignment?

It is important to stipulate at the outset that merely because three eastern states have become alienated from Europe at the same time does not suggest an authoritarian conspiracy, an insidious plot against Europe, or the formation of a dangerous military bloc. The question is more straightforward and agnostic. What will states that (for whatever reasons) have not found a place within Europe do outside of European institutions? It seems likely that states dissatisfied with their historical place or those in search of their modern identity will undertake a natural political process of discovery. And natural processes can have nasty consequences.

It also seems likely that three adjacent states outside of European markets and institutions will quickly learn to cartel, both as a defensive measure and to force European markets to open, much as opec did in the early 1970s. Quite possibly Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine will learn to create coalitions of the unwilling within multilateral institutions to protect what they see as their sphere of influence, as Russia and Turkey did in blocking nato exercises in the Black Sea. One could imagine that over time the eastern nonbloc countries would be less eager to offer bases and transit for the projection of Western power into the Middle East, the Gulf, and subcontinent (e.g., Turkey rejecting U.S. forces in 2003). These would all seem to be perfectly natural and far from adversarial developments. Why should the eastern powers bear burdens for a Western system of which they are explicitly — by choice, by exclusion, or by identity — not a part?

In strategic terms, the drift of one third of Europe into nonalignment is a highly negative development for Europe and also for the United States. In addition to further constraints on the already hamstrung hard power of the West and higher prices for basic commodities from Russia, Central Asia, and the Gulf, both the eastern neighbors and eu Europe will grow far less rapidly than if they had entered a free-trade system together. Should the nonalignment of Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine persist for the next quarter century, we should expect that a smaller, less-than-whole Europe will be an aging Europe of slow or no growth whose power in global politics is limited to its rhetorical skills and the durability of its tourism industry. In sum, allowing Europe’s east to drift out of Europe into terra incognita is an extremely bad idea.

The Eastern Partnership and Ukraine

In thinking about how Europe might arrest and reverse the drift of the eastern powers away from European institutions, neither Russia nor Turkey seems a likely point at which to begin. Russia and the West have been nursing an antagonism since the earliest days of Muscovy, through the schism of Christianity, and into and out of the Cold War. It is hard to imagine that the many issues in the relationship between Russia and Western Europe will be resolved in the near term and certainly not before the Russian presidential elections as early as 2012. By the same token, Turkey pursued negotiations on integration with the European Union for the better part of 60 years. These talks are now effectively deadlocked as Turkey pursues the higher calling of discovering itself as part of the Arab and Islamic world. For this situation to change, Turkey would have to, quite literally, turn about on the road to Damascus (such a conversion, like that of Paul of Tarsus, would require divine intervention upon which we cannot depend).

It is hard to imagine that the many issues in the relationship between Russia and Western Europe will be resolved in the near term.

This leaves the European Union with Ukraine, whose greatest selling point is that it is the most undecided of the nonbloc states and the most fearful of its prospects outside European institutions. Due to circumstances discussed above, Europe does not have a surplus of instruments with which to engage Ukraine. Both nato and Ukraine have ruled out membership in nato for Ukraine. Beyond the drudgery of monitoring Ukraine’s incessant elections, the osce has little to do in Ukraine. And Ukraine itself has already succeeded in entering the wto and in securing a $15.6 billion recovery package from the imf, which, taken together, represents everything Ukraine could possibly aspire to with non-European institutions. What all this boils down to is that Ukraine is the only game in Europe’s east and the Eastern Partnership is the only card Europe has to play in the only game in town.

The kindest thing that can be said about the European Union’s Eastern Partnership is that it was an afterthought. The triumphant Enlargement Policy was established first and succeeded in integrating all of Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics, Cyprus, and Malta before slowing in the Balkans and running aground on Turkey. Some believe that the Enlargement Policy is, perhaps, the only instance of an eu policy that has been too successful. Enlargement was followed by the Neighborhood Policy, which was never in any danger of being successful.

As a result of the extremely odd interaction between the former High Representative Javier Solana and the former eu President Romano Prodi, the Neighborhood Policy treated nearby post-Soviet democracies and North Africa states as fundamentally the same, because they were, well, neighbors. Balkan states, other than Slovenia and Greece, were held within the Enlargement portfolio to maintain the promise (or fiction) of the Thessaloniki Communiqué. It quickly emerged that the historical identities and political aspirations of the post-Soviet east and the North Africa Islamic states could not be more different, and as result the Eastern Partnership was formed presumably to break the Neighborhood Policy into two parts: an Eastern Association and a Mediterranean Dialogue (or Union, if you ask the French).

The Eastern Partnership did not come along until the Swedish presidency of the eu in May 2009. It was conceived by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorski (with help from Lithuanians and Czechs) as a program of association with the six countries of Europe’s east (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and the three South Caucasus) within which these states would have access to a wide range of relations with the European Union, short of membership. While the Partnership was explicitly a nonmembership track, by bringing these countries to the doorstep of Europe it certainly did not preclude membership at some point in the future. In fact, it was very hard to see how a country could be successful in the Eastern Partnership without ending up as a virtual member of the eu, like Norway, or a bona fide member who just showed up in Brussels one day, like Finland. At a minimum, the Eastern Partnership would keep the historically troubled and troublesome countries of Europe’s east gainfully occupied until such time as the European Union could figure out what to do with them.

It became evident almost immediately that the Eastern Partnership was an idea, but not a policy. Or maybe it was a policy without a program. So, for the past 24 months, the offices of former Commissioner Oli Rehn and present Commissioner Stefan Fule have been trying to build a foundation of policies and programs, and with some success.2

Today, the eu-Ukraine Association Agreement is the signal success and only example of the Eastern Partnership in reality.3 A brief look at the component parts of the Eastern Partnership makes it obvious why Ukraine was perfectly positioned both geographically and economically to become the poster child for the Eastern Partnership. But if we examine the three major elements in the associative relationship between the eu and Ukraine — visas, free trade, and financial aid — each is revealed as slightly more or less than what it seems.

  • Discussions of visa liberalization are much less than they appear. What began as a sincere attempt to provide Ukraine’s citizens the same ease of travel which Russians and other non-eu citizens enjoy quickly devolved into a roadmap to visa liberalization, which in turn proved too forward-leaning for some eu members. What was offered at the recent summit is an action plan for Ukraine to follow which might result in some unspecified visa liberalization in the future. This is far less than Ukraine reasonably expected from the Association Agreement.

  • In contrast, the talks on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (dcfta) are proving to contain too much for Ukraine to swallow in one bite. In order to access European markets, Ukraine must harmonize its tariffs and regulations with virtually the entirety of eu regulations, which would be a herculean task for any post-Soviet economy. Even if successful, the eu insists on withholding access to agriculture, certain services, multiple products, and labor mobility, which negates much of the free market benefits for Ukraine. Free trade talks have proven to be a source of significant misunderstanding between the eu and Ukraine, and it remains to be seen whether Commissioner Karel de Gucht’s laudable effort to accelerate negotiations will be successful.

  • In the single area where the European Union has not reneged on its commitment to closer association, the proposal to help modernize the Ukrainian gas transit system to the tune of $3.5 billon, the eu investment is neither too little nor too much. It simply does not exist — other than in theory. The eu< does not know how to modernize the gts; it does not have companies who will agree to participate; it has no plans about what a better gts would look like or how much gas it should carry; and it has no budget for the amount of money that it would take to repair and restructure the endlessly corrupt Ukrainian gas transit system.

Suffice to say, Commissioner Stefan Fule and his colleagues have a massive job in front of them to build out a functioning Eastern Partnership — a job whose scale and difficulty can be compared only with the Marshall Plan. The Eastern Partnership may become the engine which transforms Europe’s east, but so far the wheels are not turning and the democratic transformation of Kiev is moving at a snail’s pace.

Problems and contradictions

As I suggested earlier, the Eastern Partnership is the stepchild of earlier eu errors in conflating post-Soviet democracies with the nations along the southern shore of the Mediterranean, in creating unfair “class distinctions” between the children of the Balkans and the children of Moldova, and in severing association from Enlargement in the manner of King Solomon. In a sense the Eastern Partnership is the sum of European errors. As such, it is worth reviewing the conceptual problems and contradictions which reside in the Partnership policy and which make fixing its programs and implementation that much more difficult. It seems to me that there are five major questions which need to be answered before Europe can be said to have a functioning policy in its East.

1. Comprehensive or ad hoc? An Eastern Partnership promulgated by the European Union advances an implied claim to comprehensively engage all of what was once the Soviet Union, which would be the three states bordering the eu, the three states of the South Caucasus, and Russia itself. This has not proven to be the case. The Eastern Partnership focused solely on Ukraine and Moldova to the detriment of the South Caucasus and exclusion of Belarus. (Engaging Russia, of course, was never attempted.) This is far different than nato’s Membership Action Plan, which turned out to be sufficiently elastic and multi-faceted to accommodate the most disparate nato aspirants with ease. In this sense, the Eastern Partnership is simply a big tent for bilateral ad hoc-ery with five of seven of the eastern semi-democracies. As an arbitrary aggregation of multiple, bilateral diplomacies it suffers from all the expected weaknesses of ad hoc diplomacy: the absence of a body of programs; the impression of unfairness and double standards; gaping holes in coverage; confusion in the objectives of policy; and difficulty in justifying budget resources. Ultimately, a comprehensive Eastern Partnership will either have to be expanded to offer small, distant partners the same associative programs available to large, nearby partners or the Partnership will have to be cut back to a few uniform programs, such as visa liberalization roadmaps, which could be issued to the entirety of Europe’s east.

2. Conflicting motives of EU member states. A second question for the Eastern Partnership pertains to the conflicting motives of eu member states. It is not at all clear that every member of the European Union wants the Eastern Partnership to succeed or to succeed in the same way. Some nations believe that the Association Agreement is a way-station through which eastern partners pass on the road to membership status; others see the Partnership as an insurance policy against the application of any post-Soviet state for full integration into European political and financial markets. Support for the Eastern Partnership also divides Europe on north-south lines. Capitals north of Bratislava see the Eastern Partnership as a strategic imperative which rescues Europe’s east from the economic domination of Moscow and, curiously, also builds a bridge across the borderlands to Moscow — a bridge which someday Russia will cross in its return to Europe. Capitals south of Bratislava see the Eastern Partnership as a wasteful drain on resources to rebuild the Balkans and integrate the Mediterranean and little more than a source of prostitutes and unskilled labor. At a minimum, this confliction conveys a sense of Europe’s mental reservations to the eastern partners; in the extreme, these internal conflicts set the stage for intra-European guerilla war where one eu member builds bridges eastward and another eu member blows them up. Any foreign policy worthy of the name needs an enforcer to demand internal discipline, but it is not yet clear that President Barroso or Baroness Ashton see themselves in this role.

3. The incoherence of the European Commission. While the Eastern Partnership is uneven in its effect on the eastern partners and vacuous on the whole, it also stretches across a vast amount of bureaucratic space inside the European Commission. It is stupefying to try to imagine the internal coordination required for Commissioner Fule in Enlargement and Neighborhood to make the most modest decision regarding the Eastern Partnership. First, he should check with Baroness Ashton since the Eastern Partnership, like it or not, is a foreign policy. Then he should stop by Karel de Gucht’s office since the Free Trade talks are the salient feature of the Partnership. By the same token, Commissioner Fule should coordinate with Energy and Agriculture since the eastern partners depend on the import of energy from the east and the export of agricultural products to the West. If there is time left in the day, the Partnership commissioner should seek concurrences from Internal Market, Competition, and Justice and Home Affairs on a range of issues from market access to visa liberalization and labor mobility. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a serious discussion of the Eastern Partnership without convening the entire European Commission. To the problem of the effectiveness of Europe’s eastern policy, what is the decision-making mechanism for the Eastern Partnership? For example, in the context of the multi-dimensional dialogue between the eu and Ukraine, who in Brussels can decide that the eu will give a little more on visa liberalization but will continue to protect certain agricultural markets? Effective policy must be able to adjust quickly, compromise when necessary, and calculate tradeoffs.

4. Foreign policy without federalism. The great stumbling block of Europe’s eastern policy since 1989 has been the problem of a diverse Western European community of now 27 states contending with highly centralized eastern states. Each time a decision has been needed with respect to Russia, the unity of the European Union fractures. The same can be said for decisions on energy and competition policy dealing with Gazprom. I am not suggesting that the Kremlin or the Management Committee of Gazprom has been scheming to divide Europe. I am arguing that Europe divides itself in discussions of Russia and energy.4 To a considerable extent, the Eastern Partnership is a combination of the question of Russia, the question of energy, and the question of the democratic condition of the partner countries, and, as such, is every bit as divisive of eu consensus as all the other problems in Europe’s east. Thus, the question arises: Can Europe ever have an effective eastern policy without federalizing significant competencies of the European Union? Without significant federal powers, it is difficult to see how the European Union designs and manages energy, trade, and Russia in a Euro-Atlantic political system of well over a billion people.

5. The absence of a narrative. In American political jargon, our campaign strategists refer to the “narrative” of the candidate or campaign, which means the story that summarizes the meaning of the campaign. “Honest Abe Lincoln and his path from a log cabin to the presidency” is an excellent example of a simple and immensely compelling narrative. The Eastern Partnership lacks any semblance of a popular narrative, and an eu citizen in Portugal could be forgiven for not having the slightest idea what the Eastern Partnership is supposed to do for him. Complicating the difficulty of connecting with eu voters is the general availability of competing narratives running either at a tangent or directly counter to the purposes of the Eastern Partnership.5 The Russian proposal for a new security architecture for Europe answers many of the same questions the Eastern Partnership purports to, as does the German doctrine of economic interdependence between Europe and Russia. The French are constructing a third narrative which contains both a pan-European architecture and elements of economics and trade. All three narratives are coherent and compelling to their target audiences. Much as I admire both Carl Bildt and Radek Sikorski, the Eastern Partnership remains the rarefied product of an intellectual foreign policy aristocracy. The alienation of policy in Europe’s East from the voters of Western Europe became a problem during the presidency of George W. Bush. The promotion of democracy in Europe’s east became little more than charity work with a pinch of evangelicalism and sanctimony thrown in for good measure. Not surprisingly, a few people’s ideas about charitable things to do with the money of others did not survive the first day of the current recession. For the Eastern Partnership to command the public support and resources necessary for it to prevail in Europe’s east, eu leadership will have to recast its policy to create a narrative that portrays a larger European community as being a vital economic interest of every eu household. The narrative of the Eastern Partnership needs to be about the creation of jobs, the security of energy, and the prospect of sustainable economic growth in Western Europe. The Eastern Partnership cannot survive unless it grounds itself in general narrative more firmly than the alternative political constructs.

What is at stake?

Notwithstanding doubts about whether the leaders of the European Union will succeed in formulating and implementing an effective Eastern engagement, it is hugely consequential, particularly for the United States, that they do so. Despite Europe’s political growing pains and current financial crises, strategically speaking, Europe fails from its east. Across history, the existential threats to Europe arise from the east — the Huns, Mongols, Ottomans, Hitler, and Stalin. For Europe to find an inclusive answer to problems of its east is probably the U.S.’s longest-standing national foreign-policy objective, and once again among the most urgent.

Zbigniew Brzezinski once wrote that Russia could not become an empire without Ukraine. There are so many other reasons that Russia cannot become an empire that Brzezinski’s insight is no longer particularly useful. It is closer to the point to say that the European Union cannot retain its current economic and political position in the world without a more effective policy to engage its east, beginning with Ukraine. Unless the European Union moves immediately to resource, reinforce, and embellish the Eastern Partnership policy, the strategic drift of major European powers, historically European peoples, rapidly emerging markets, and vast energy reserves away from Western Europe will continue and accelerate.

For a time the leaders of Europe may feel relieved of the tiresome burden of engaging the post-Soviet democracies and post-Kemalist Turkey. They may even come to enjoy the quiet twilight of a smaller, austere, and inefficient Europe. But one day, someone in Western Europe will wake up and wonder how Europe became a declining, penurious, second-tier power. This disappointed European will be told that Europe failed to develop an effective, expansive, and generous policy towards its east. And should Europe fail to fill the strategic vacuum in its east, it is hard to see how the Euro-Atlantic system continues in its current form. An attenuated and disappointed Europe facing an alienated and very possibly unstable east almost certainly means a reduction in American military and economic power. For all these reasons, Americans should hope and pray that the European Union’s Eastern Partnership succeeds.

1 See Bruce Pitcairn Jackson, “A Turning Point for Europe’s East,” Policy Review 160 (April & May 2010), 49–61.

2 A summary of Carl Bildt’s and Radek Sikorski’s October 2010 letter to Baroness Ashton and Commissioner Stefan Fule is available at http://euobserver.com/9/31109.

3 Ukraine has not jumped to the forefront of Association by its merits alone. Moldova has been unable to elect a president for over a year and could now face yet another parliamentary election in the next few months. And most recently in the elections on December 19, 2010, Belarus has confirmed its status as Europe’s last dictatorship and is ineligible to participate in the Partnership. Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, through no fault of their own, are too far away to take full advantage of trade or visa liberalization, and all three countries are preoccupied with the frozen conflicts on their territories to the exclusion of even the most generous European programs.

4 There are signs that European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger and European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia are beginning to devise a clear competition policy for gas pipelines.

5 Ivan Krastev and Mark Leonard, “The Spectre of a Multipolar Europe” (European Council on Foreign Relations, 2010).

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