Tag Archives: Viktor Uspaskich

Europe must Look East

Viktor Uspaskich, a Lithuanian member of the European Parliament, writing in the Moscow Times:

The Eastern Partnership, the European Union’s program to improve economic and political integration between Europe and the former Soviet republics of Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, was launched in Prague a little more than a year ago to a drumroll of high expectations and fanfare. Although the partnership has delivered very little in its first year, we have seen promising developments in recent months among some of the European Union’s eastern neighbors. It is vital that the EU seizes the opportunity to improve relations and strengthen cooperation with these countries. This can be done without any revolutionary policy diversions and, more importantly, without sacrificing fundamental political freedoms.

Moscow’s Victory Day parade on May 9 may have been a turning point in Russia’s relations with the West. Polish and U.S. troops marched alongside Russian troops on Red Square. This new face appeared after the tragic plane crash in Smolensk that killed President Lech Kaczynski and many senior Polish officials. Although we are not suddenly dealing with a radically new, “softer” Russia, I believe that some of the developments on the Russian side go beyond rhetoric, and it would be a mistake for the EU not to take advantage of Russia’s new pragmatism. We don’t necessarily need a “reset button” to achieve this, just above all a constructive attitude and the willingness to compromise when necessary. This applies to Russia as it does to Belarus and Ukraine.

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