The EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) project has been under threat since, in an alarming move, Russia continues to escalate the pressure it exerts on neighbouring countries. Specifically, it has launched trade disputes with Ukraine and Moldova and threatened the national interests of Armenia, which has forced Armenia into the Eurasian Customs Union. Moreover, this activity is accompanied by a massive information campaign by Russia aimed at discrediting the benefits of the EU Association Agreement as well as targeting key proponents of EU integration.
The Eurasian Union is an instrument being used by the Russian leadership to prevent neighbouring countries enhancing their integration with Europe in order to maintain them as Russian satellite states. Successive EU enlargements have brought Eastern Partnership countries closer to the EU and their security, stability and prosperity increasingly impact upon the EU.
The European People’s Party is convinced that this unacceptable behaviour by Russia will have a negative impact on EU-Russia relations.
Therefore, the European Peoples Party:
- Urges the Russian Federation to stop using manipulation and blackmail and to apply the principle of sovereign equality, non-intervention in internal affairs and good cooperation between states.
- Condemns the pressure brought to bear by Russia on the Armenian government and regrets the decision of Armenian President to join the Eurasian Customs Union, which undermines the achievements of Armenia towards the EU.
- Expresses strong support to Ukraine and Moldova, who despite the pressure continue the implementation of the European integration agenda.
- Calls on the President of Ukraine to implement the respective criteria which will enable the EU to sign the Association Agreement with Ukraine at Vilnius EaP Summit in November.
- Concerned by the statement of Georgian Prime Minister regarding the ambiguous position towards the Customs Union and encourages Georgia to continue its policy towards European integration.
- Underlines the EU’s responsibility to act and defend EaP countries. Both the European Commission and the European External Action Service have to take stronger positions. The inability of the EU to adequately react to the behaviour of Russia could trigger a further acceleration of Russian pressure against EaP partners, with negative implications for the future development of the EaP.
- Stresses that the membership in the Eurasian Customs Union is incompatible with concluding the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreements.