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11 September, 2013 17:22   ▪  

Gediminas Kirkilas: Armenia’s choice has the inevitable implications for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, as well as for the EU

In his report published at the Lithuania Tribune, Gediminas Kirkilas, Vice-Speaker of the Lithuanian’s Seimas and the Chairman of the European Affairs Committee, analyzes the Eastern Partnership dilemma between the EU and Russia

 “Armenia, which very recently has demonstrated a decent democratic promise, in the early September announced of its decision to join the Russia’s Customs Union,” the Lithuania Tribune quotes Mr. Kirkilas. This is not happy news for Europe. In addition to potential backslide on democracy and closure of the biggest market in the world for Armenia, its choice “has the inevitable implications for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, as well as for the EU immediate policy towards these three countries,” the publication writes.
“The major battle is now for Ukraine. Georgia and Moldova will likely follow the pattern afterwards. Therefore, Lithuania hopes that during the Vilnius Summit of Eastern Partnership the EU Association Agreement will be signed with Ukraine and the Free Trade Agreements will be initialed with Georgia and Moldova,” Mr. Kirkilas states.

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“I strongly believe that signing the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine will actually provide the EU with more effective instruments of influence towards this country, especially regarding democratic reforms and human rights. Within such a framework, Ukraine will be politically assigned to the democratic path and united Europe, and, therefore, become less susceptible to the non-democratic stimuli from outside,” he claims as quoted by the Lithuania Tribune. “Otherwise, like it was done in the case of NATO enlargement, postponing Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU might be understood by the Ukrainian people and its democratic forces as a rejection, or as the country’s ban from Europe. The non-democratic powers, on the other hand, might accept such gesture as an easy license to move towards the consolidation of a non-democratic regime.”

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Lithuania has seen the Eastern Partnership as No 1 during its EU Presidency. Given its own European integration experience, it supports the idea of helping these countries decide in favour of Europe and giving them a credit of trust in advance, especially now, when Armenia might be lost to Russia’s geopolitical project, the publication quotes Mr. Kirkilas. “Demand or “waiting and seeing” strategy is no longer feasible, if Europe does not want to lose the other three,” he suggests.

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