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25 March, 2013 09:00   ▪  

Stratfor: further integration of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia with Europe is becoming increasingly unlikely

“Despite its claims to the contrary, the European Union has faced difficulties in its relationships with neighboring states in its periphery, most notably Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia,” notes global intelligence company Stratfor.

“In Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovych's political consolidation has led to the detention of several opposition figures, most notably former prime minister and presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko,” write the experts of Stratfor.

“These detentions have prompted criticism from Europe and have strained Ukrainian-EU relations. In 2012, Ukraine initialed association and free trade agreements with the European Union – the most advanced stage of European integration achieved by any of the Eastern Partnership states. However, neither document has been officially signed or ratified due to Tymoshenko's controversial imprisonment and to parliamentary elections held later in 2012 that the Europeans deemed unfair. This delay is what prompted the European Union to label its relationship with Ukraine as “lagging behind” in its March 20 report,” they add.

Stratfor underlines that Russia stands to gain the most from these political developments and the weakening of these countries' ties with the European Union. Moscow has significant levers in all three countries and could gain politically and economically as prospects for EU integration diminish. However, internal political divisions within Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia limit the impact of any outside power – including Russia – in influencing the countries' orientation, and each of their governments will be careful to keep both foreign policy options open to a certain extent. 

“Still, the European Union's position has clearly weakened as a result of the evolving political situation in each country, and the deepening economic and political crisis in Europe has reduced the bloc's energy and appetite for focusing on its Eastern neighbors. All of these factors have caused the further integration of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia with Europe to become increasingly unlikely,” warns the intelligence company.

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