Friday, May 14, 2010

I agree with Lavrov!

Russian Foreign Minister Serghei Lavrov commented today that the Eastern Partnership's free trade agreements, association agreements and neighbourhood policies would impede the integration of the six countries involved (one of which is Moldova) into Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) structures.

For once, Seriozha and I are in complete agreement.  The Eastern Partnership will impede the deepening of CIS structures.  I suspect that we part ways over whether or not that is a good thing.

My view is that Moldova should start making plans for a gradual withdrawal from the CIS.  The first step would be to withdraw from any structures which breach Moldova's constitutional neutrality.  Subsequent steps would be taken as integration with Europe proceeded and made different aspects of CIS membership unworkable.  Finally, just prior to EU entry, Moldova should cease being a member of the CIS.

The bottom line is that the EU adhesion process must take priority over CIS membership.  If there is a conflict, it is the CIS structure that must go, making way for the EU.

PS:  If you look at the six countries in the 'Eastern Partnership', Moldova is now unique in terms of its potential for EU membership.
  1. Belarus is still a dictatorship (although we're not supposed to say that out loud)
  2. Ukraine has compromised its membership aspirations by allowing the Russian navy to stay a further 25 years in the Crimea
  3. Georgia is far away, and too hot a potato to handle (sadly for the Georgians)
  4. Armenia is far away, too close to Russia politically and has unresolved issues with Turkey and Azerbaijan
  5. Azerbaijan is far away, culturally Asian, undemocratic, and has unresolved issues with Armenia
Moldova, on the other hand, is democratic (ish), right on Europe's borders, pro-European and culturally close to an existing EU member.  It seems to me as if Moldova should be promoted out of the Eastern Partnership and into the Western Balkans group of countries with clear membership prospects, alongside the former Yugoslav republics.

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