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EU The Eastern Partnership
Par Florent PARMENTIER, Pierre VERLUISE, le 21 novembre 2013
Florent Parmentier is lecturer at Sciences-Po, Paris. Pierre Verluise is Director of
Diploweb.com.
Launched officially in 2009, the Eastern Partnership involves six countries on the eastern
edge of the European Union : Belarus, Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia, Armenia and
Azerbaijan. What are the aims of this EU policy and what do the partner countries have in
common ? Florent Parmentier offers some precise answers and an early progress report.
He then sheds some light on the competition between eastern and southern regions of the
EU. The interview ends with a look eastwards from the EU to other big-hitters : Russia, the
USA and China.
As part of its interdisciplinary approach to geopolitical analysis, Diploweb.com is delighted
to bring you an extract from the new work by Pierre Verluise, Géopolitique des frontières
européennes. Elargir, jusqu’où ? (The Geopolitics of the European Frontiers ? Where
Should Expansion Stop ?), illustrated by 20 color maps, published in France by Argos,
2013, and distributed by Puf. The selected extract is in fact the sixth chapter, published
under the title : Quel partenariat oriental ?
Pierre Verluise : To what extent is the Eastern Partnership the result of specifically
Central European initiatives, notably by Poland ?
Florent Parmentier : The Eastern Partnership originated in a joint initiative by Poland and
Sweden, the aim being to develop a more coherent, targeted ─ if not truly original ─ policy for
the East. The Czech presidency, the first held by a Central European nation, championed the
project and, in May 1990, succeeded in organizing a European Summit to launch the Eastern
Partnership. The political context has since been deeply affected by the conflict between Russia
and Georgia in August 2008. The European nations had not seen this damage to the security
environment coming and now accept the idea of paying closer attention to these countries.
The role of Poland in the process was obviously essential. Warsaw can claim seniority as a
player in the region ; as long ago as the 16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian empire encompassed
the two westernmost thirds of present-day Ukraine. The desire to play a role in Eastern Europe is
therefore nothing new. Though Poland appeared to have only a bit part in the European power
plays, General Józef Piłsudski, back in the 1930s, underlined the original role played by his
country and how : “this little Poland that should have just remained a satellite in the orbit of the
major powers pointed Central European politics in a new direction” [1]. History aside, Poland
has a number of think tanks that have already been contributing for a number of years to debate
in Europe on the eastern dimension of the EU. The interests of civil society and various
economic players complete the picture.
It would, however, be an exaggeration, to portray the Eastern Partnership as a Polish idea
dressed in European clothes [2]. True, Poland has a strong preference for the development of
deeper relations with eastern neighbors, linked to its geopolitical location, political tradition, and
perception of its security and economic interests. However, the administrative capacity of the
Polish state in the European context and the diverging preferences of the other European
countries have hampered Polish ambitions. Under the leadership of the Kaczynski brothers
1
(2005-2007) Poland had difficulty in attempting to build European coalitions, but appears more
comfortable in this exercise under Donald Tusk : relations have become more constructive with
Germany, the Visegrad group (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland), the
Scandinavian countries, the Baltic States and the UK.
Ultimately, it is fair to say that though it played a leading role, Poland would not have been
capable of bringing together all the European countries around an Eastern Partnership Secretariat
with a joint Polish-Ukrainian presidency (based on the French blueprint for the Union for the
Mediterranean), notably in the event of German opposition.
P. V : The Eastern Partnership involves six countries : Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,
Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine. What are their characteristics ?
F. P : These States were created in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991) : they
consequently share a history that is more or less old, economic cultural, social and political
legacies, and varying levels of affinity or enmity towards each other. Yet these countries have
tended to follow separate development paths from unequal home bases.
Physical, economic, demographic and political indicators provide eloquent insights into the
characteristics shared by these Eastern doorstep countries.
At first sight, these countries do not form a homogeneous group in terms of physical and human
geography : areas differ by a factor of 1 to 20 ; the difference in population ranges from 1 to 15
(between Ukraine and Armenia) ; and density ranges from 1 to 3 (between Belarus and
Moldavia). Ukraine alone accounts for three fifths of the area and the total population of the six
Eastern partners. Also, there are geographical distinctions between the countries of Eastern
Europe (Belarus, Moldavia and Ukraine), located between the EU and Russia, and those of
Southern Caucasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), trapped between the Russian and Turkish
areas of influence. This situation leads to different geopolitical orientations : Iran and Turkey, for
example, carry weight in Caucasia but have less potential to influence the countries of Eastern
Europe.
However, this diversity of area and population is on a far greater scale if we look at Europe as a
whole [3]. With the exception of Ukraine, and to a lesser extent Belarus, the Eastern Partnership
countries are of modest size and population. In Eastern Europe they have a direct frontier with
the EU. In Southern Caucasia they are close to the Black Sea.
On the economic level too, there are divergences. Compared with the standard of living in
Belarus ─ the equivalent of 41.5% of European GDP per capita in purchasing power standards ─
that of Moldavia attains just 7.6%. Belarus in fact bests Romania on this count, and equals
Bulgaria, these being the two poorest EU member States. In terms of competitiveness index and
infrastructure quality these countries lie in the middle of the world rankings as a result of lack of
extended investment. These relatively disappointing economic results are explained by multiple
factors, though a trend towards a reduction of the gap was observed before the economic crisis.
The energy issue, while essential in all the countries concerned, takes different forms. These
countries, with the exception of Georgia, are globally marked by low energy efficiency, and the
importance of gas in their energy mix. This latter point is important if we bear in mind the
specificities of the gas market, which operates on a regional scale and requires substantial
investment. Their position varies from one country to another : Azerbaijan is a major gasproducing country and, while Ukraine and Belarus are essential transit nations for the EU,
2
Georgia is less so. Georgia in fact has the particularity of having turned away from Russian gas
since 2006, redirecting its foreign policy towards Azerbaijan, which is self-sufficient for energy
resources, and intends to take advantage of this in its foreign policy with both Russia and the EU.
Demographic indicators also show these countries to be relatively homogeneous. With the
exception of Azerbaijan, with just over two live births per woman, the fertility rate is sluggish,
even lower than that of Europe. Azerbaijan is characterized, in addition to its birth rate, by a
relatively low life expectancy and a high infant mortality. By contrast, Belarus has the
characteristics of the developed countries, with the highest human development index (HDI)
among the neighboring countries, yet an infant mortality rate comparable to the average for the
EU. While Georgia has a life expectancy at birth that is by one and a half years below the
European average, the shortfall in the other countries ranges from 5 to 11 years. In other words,
despite some clear similarities, demographic situations vary.
Political indicators show the emergence of two distinct groups of countries. On one hand are
those with European ambitions that provide a barrier against a slide into authoritarianism. These
are Georgia, Ukraine and Moldavia. Moreover, this process remains remote in countries where
power is more centralized, namely Azerbaijan, Belarus and, to a lesser degree, Armenia. Among
the star pupils, Georgia has made a big effort in the fight against “small-scale corruption”, and
achieved tangible results. Most of these results have, however, been achieved since the arrival of
Mikheil Saakashvili, even before the ENP was introduced. We will need more time before we
can assess the results of the fall 2012 legislative elections in Georgia. Moldavia appears to be a
country with a relatively free press, ranking higher than Italy (61st). Kiev has also been on the
radar of the EU and the USA since the “Orange Revolution”, though the mood has become more
blasé since 2008-2009, a tendency accentuated since the victory of Viktor Yanukovich in
January 2010.
Rankings aside, trends in terms of democratization do not look positive, as only Moldavia stands
out as a State that has been moving towards a pluralist democracy in recent years, while the other
countries are ultimately, at best, standing still.
P. V : How do you assess the achievements of the Eastern Partnership after these first few
years ? Does it have the means, notably the budget, to fulfill its ambitions and address
expectancies ?
F. P : The Eastern Partnership is still a fledgling policy, as it has only been operational for three
years : it is still largely a work in progress. There is not much to celebrate and we cannot single
out any great achievements. However its potential remains intact.
The Partnership has several aims : the conclusion of agreements with each country ; the
preparation of a complete, in-depth free trade agreement, visa-free travel, and energy or sectoral
cooperation [4]. The program also aims to consolidate the rule of law, democratic institutions
and civil society. However, most of its assigned missions will only be effective in the long term.
Moldavia and Ukraine’s accession to the European energy Community will not have a rapid
impact on the energy mix of the countries concerned, nor will it diminish the opposition forces or
local resistance to change. Integrating the EU heritage is a long and complex process insofar as it
does not always sit comfortably with the interests and perceptions of local stakeholders.
While the EU did not initially intend to cut back its contribution to neighborhood policy,
budgetary negotiation is of particular importance [5]. The European Commission has put forward
a number of key initiatives to showcase the results of this policy : integrated management of
3
external borders (€44.5 million), facilities for SME (€57 million), regional electricity markets,
renewable energy sources and energy efficiency (€41 million), environmental governance (€12
million) and natural disaster prevention and preparedness (€12 million). None of these
endowments should be significantly reduced despite the euro zone crisis that cools the ambitions
entertained by European countries beyond their borders.
Debate as to whether accession is a prerequisite to transformation is ultimately less essential than
may appear. The Eastern Partnership potentially provides for attachment to the EU economy via
comprehensive, in-depth agreements (ALEAC), access to European energy via the European
Energy Community, and visa-free European travel. The ALEAC implementation assumes that
the beneficiary countries broadly take on board the community legacy, because the EU
requirements in terms of standards and technology, for example in the phytosanitary and sanitary
fields, are those of developed economies. The expected benefits of enlargement are already on
the table. Also, the political stagnation of the South-East European countries, in spite of the
promise of accession, shows that reform does not follow on automatically from accession.
Though Armenia has received no promises of accession, it has made great progress in
cooperation with the EU since 2008-2009.
P. V : Should the European stakeholders maintain a common approach to neighborhood as
a whole by prioritizing European neighborhood policy, or pursue a regionalized policy like
the Eastern Partnership ?
Europe is indeed on the horns of a dilemma...
F. P : Europe is indeed on the horns of a dilemma : if it wishes to maintain a single, allencompassing framework for both Eastern and Southern neighbors, it takes the risk of leading a
policy that will be too general to be truly efficient ; if it opts for a specific policy, the Member
States are likely to find themselves head to head on priorities that ought to be those of the EU.
This tension has been present since the 1990s, a decade during which French diplomacy feared
that enlargement would jeopardize preferential relations with the Southern Mediterranean. The
1995 Barcelona process was thus the direct result of the formation of enlargement policies that
were at the time relatively recent. The same phenomenon occurred at the inception of the
European neighborhood policy : the initial approach targeted the geographically intermediary
states (Belarus, Moldavia, Ukraine) and Russia, but French and Italian diplomats pushed for
inclusion of their Southern neighbors in the policy, an initiative that was welcomed by the
Commission. However, attempts at regionalization were soon to appear : in 2007 with the launch
of the Black Sea Synergy ; in 2008 with the Union for the Mediterranean ; and in 2009 with the
Eastern Partnership. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) has grown significantly from the
idea of a Mediterranean Union that was only to involve the States of the Mediterranean rim, but
Germany was stoutly opposed, and the Commission scarcely appreciated being sidelined in the
process. The Eastern Partnership, intent on differentiating between the treatment of “European
neighbors” and that of “Europe’s neighbors”, has been presented more pragmatically with regard
to the institutions, and has secured a manner of concession enabling Poland to join the UfM.
Faced with a risk of dispersal, the Commission remains watchful and is working to produce a
consistent framework for the neighborhood as a whole, with scope to keep as many options as
possible open. After all, Germany is one of the big investors in the Mediterranean countries, with
a special interest in all things economic. More surprisingly, countries like Italy, Spain and
Portugal have seen a growing influx of nationals from the former Soviet countries, notably
Moldavians and Ukrainians. These developments do not affect the specific characteristics of the
4
different countries, but do tend to eliminate the option of considering them as natural
monopolies.
P. V : Is the competition between South and East for accessing and using European
resources the only key to understanding the confrontations within the EU ?
F. P : In the wake of the “Arab Spring” in 2011, bringing hope but also anxiety, the Europeans
have had to rethink their neighborhood policy [6]. Hope has been raised insofar as the
democratic ideal has at last been forcibly expressed in the South after decades of
authoritarianism. Anxiety because of the possible outcomes of jeopardized stability, with the
twofold risks of migrations and Islamist politics
Moreover, this major movement has not failed to cause concern of another order to the East of
the EU. The Eastern Partnership capitals fear ─ and they sometimes admit it ─ that they may
lose their geopolitical importance to the benefit of the South, this being apparent in unfavorable
arbitration with a view to the renegotiation of the European budget for 2013-2020. Despite the
reassurances given by European Commissioner Stefan Füle as to the EU’s ongoing commitment
to the East, even while the Arab Spring was in full swing, there is real concern [7]. There is no
escaping the fact that an Egyptian or a Tunisian received less than two euros per year per capita
of EU assistance, way below the norm in the East.
Notwithstanding, the EU’s role is not just limited to the distribution of economic aid against a
backdrop of interregional rivalry. Firstly, it should not be forgotten that the South and the East
are regions with marked internal diversity, and this also creates rivalry. European policy is fully
aware of this situation insofar as relations with the countries concerned are bilateral and not
regional. There may even be potentially opposed policies for the same region. Thus, the
advocates of the Black Sea Synergy led by the Romanians and the Bulgarians, have cast a
concerned eye over the development of the Eastern Partnership, aware of the risks of duplicating
agendas and political goals liable to reduce their influence over the definition of the EU’s eastern
policy.
European power consists notably of exporting standards, of shaping political and socio-economic
environments in the neighborhood countries. Confrontations and rivalries are often stronger
between the countries of the South and the East, rather than between the two regions. In other
words, progress achieved in negotiating a complete, consolidated free trade agreement in
Moldavia is irrelevant to a country like Morocco. Conversely, a visa-free travel agreement
between the EU and Georgia is likely to receive much closer attention from Ukrainian
diplomacy.
If we are to believe the 2011 Review of Neighbourhood Policy [8] there will be no let-up in the
Eastern Partnership, and no escalation in competition between East and South, for the simple
reason that the principle of differentiation does not discriminate between regions. The UfM,
however, takes more flak from the Commission, still unconvinced by this very intergovernmental policy. The UfM’s tendency to turn a blind eye to political regimes goes against
the EU mantra of “shared values” in a “Partnership for democracy and shared prosperity”.
P. V : Russia is not a member of the Eastern Partnership. It had rejected the European
neighborhood policy (2004). Was it offered the Eastern Partnership option ? Is there
friction, competition or cooperation between Russia and the EU on these six countries ?
More generally, what are the political paths available to EU-Russian relations ?
5
F. P : When the European Neighbourhood Policy was launched, Russia eschewed the
opportunity on the grounds that it was a “power” and not a “neighbor”, thus deserving special
attention. However Moscow, already a member of the Black Sea Synergy, was not offered the
chance to become an Eastern partner, unlike Turkey, which refused to join in February 2009.
The Eastern Partnership, which casts an envious eye over the Russian “foreigner on its
doorstep”, was initially criticized by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov,
who queried whether its role was not an opportunity for the EU to “extend its sphere of
influence”. Thus, the Kremlin used an argument often directed against itself. When the EU
leaned heavily on Belarus, persuading it to refuse to acknowledge the independence of Abkhazia
and South Ossetia ─ a practice debatably somewhat remote from the Partnership’s avowed high
ground of democratic principle ─ Moscow saw a clear-cut case of double standards.
In 2012, the Eastern Partnership worries Russia less, as it is no longer perceived as a policy for
cramping Russian influence. Maybe the Eastern Partnership simply does not have the
wherewithal. As Vladimir Chizhov, Russian Ambassador to the EU, put it with his typically
biting irony and spikiness, “if it is not supported by a budget line it cannot go very far”. The
most fervent backers of the Eastern Partnership are also among the Member States that are the
most critical of Moscow (primarily Poland, Sweden, and the UK). Russia, however, is no longer
scared to take on the EU on its own ground, that of standards, including in economics, where the
proposed deep and comprehensive free trade agreement is increasingly rivaled by the Russianled Customs Union project. As for visas, it is unquestionably easier for a Ukrainian citizen to
travel to Saint Petersburg than to Brussels. The opportunities for cooperation, in terms of
migratory, energy or security policy, have not yet yielded tangible and durable results.
Even though Russian and community interests diverge, this relationship should not be seen as a
zero-sum game : the Kharkiv agreements signed between Presidents Viktor Yanukovich and
Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, while highly controversial, are testimony to this [9]. This is because,
by signing an agreement on the delineation of the Russia-Ukraine border, Moscow makes it
easier for Kiev to renegotiate a simpler visa agreement with the EU.
P. V : Do the six Eastern Partnership countries have rival programs championed by other
countries (USA, China) ?
F. P : The Eastern Partnership has not generated any particular political response from the other
powers : it is not the first European incursion in the region. At most, the other powers have
looked for ways to adapt to the new European policy.
Hence the USA is setting out to maintain a strong trans-Atlantic line on this issue : over and
above the so-called “reset” policy with Russia, and the new policy orientations towards the
Middle East, Washington intends to preserve close links with a number of European Member
States. The Eastern Partnership could sit nicely with the Americans’ declared goal of
democratizing the post-Soviet area, even of ultimately including it in the Atlantic Alliance. At
the same time, the USA, despite its undeniable economic and cultural influence, is not alone in
taking an interest in the region along with the EU Member States.
China is indeed shaping up as an emerging power in the region, notably because of its financial
clout in countries severely affected by the crisis. Hence, Belarus has not just been content to
develop joint-ventures with Chinese partners or to open the door to Chinese businesses when it
has privatized ; it has also accepted Chinese loans. Likewise, Chinese demand is pulling
Ukrainian exports in a number of fields. This is true notably in the iron and steel industry, active
6
in Eastern Ukraine, and now dependent on Chinese imports. The same applies to agriculture. The
change in Chinese eating habits has, for example, created a new market for Ukrainian corn
exports. For the countries concerned, this fresh interest is obviously positive. Ultimately we can
legitimately say that, for the neighborhood countries, it is good to be back on the map again.
Copyright 2013-Parmentier-Verluise/Diploweb.com
Translation : A. Fell

Recommander cette page
[1] Yvon, Bizardel, “La politique étrangère de la Pologne”, Politique étrangère, n°5, 1937, p. 431
(our translation).
[2] Nathaniel Copsey, Karolina Pomorska, “Poland’s power and influence in the European
Union : The case of its eastern policy”, Comparative European Politics, Vol. 8, n°3, pp. 304-326.
[3] The population of Germany is around 160 times that of Luxembourg, while France, including
its overseas territories has a population around 260 times greater than that of Luxembourg.
[4] David Cadier, Florent Parmentier, “UE Partenariat Oriental : quelles perspectives ?”,
www.diploweb.com, December 12 2009.
[5] Nicolas Bizel, “Le cadre financier pluriannuel 2014-2020 : un budget à la hauteur des
ambitions européennes ?” www.euro-power.eu, May 2012.
[6] Florent Parmentier, “The Clash of Neighbourhoods ? The Impact of the ‘Arab Spring’ on the
EU’s Neighbourhood Policy”, in Edmund Ratka, Olga Spaiser, Understanding European
Neighbourhood Policies. Concepts, Actors, Perceptions, Baden Baden, Nomos, 2012.
[7] “Stefan Füle : EU won’t allow Arab revolutions to be ‘stolen’”, Euractiv, April 13 2011,
euractiv.com/en/global-europe/tefan-le-eu-wont-allow-arab-revolutions-stolen-interview504001,
[8] SEAE / European Commission, “A new response to a Changing Neighbourhood. A review of
European
Neighbourhood
Policy”,
May
25
2011,
ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/com_11_303_en.pdf
[9] Richard Connolly, Nathaniel Copsey, “The Great Slump of 2008-9 and Ukraine’s Integration
with the European Union”, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Vol.27, n°3-4,
September–December 2011, pp.541-565.

7
Version en français

UE : quel partenariat oriental ?
Par Florent PARMENTIER, Pierre VERLUISE, le 10 février 2013
Florent Parmentier, docteur en Science politique, est enseignant à Sciences-Po Paris ou il dirige
notamment la filière énergie du Master Affaires Publiques. Ses intérêts de recherche incluent l’étude de
la "grande Europe" (notamment les pays du Partenariat Oriental) et la politique énergétique
européenne. Pierre Verluise est Directeur du site diploweb.com. Il enseigne la Géographie politique à la
Sorbonne, au MRIAE de l’Université Paris I. Il a fondé le séminaire géopolitique de l’Europe à l’Ecole
de guerre.

Biélorussie, Ukraine, Moldavie, Géorgie, Arménie et Azerbaïdjan sont les six pays
concernés par le Partenariat oriental de l’Union européenne, officiellement lancé en 2009.
Quelles sont les ambitions de cette politique de l’UE et les caractéristiques des pays
partenaires ? F. Parmentier apporte des réponses précises et propose un premier bilan.
Entretien de Pierre Verluise , directeur du Diploweb.com avec Florent Parmentier,
enseignant à Sciences-Po Paris.
Ce texte est extrait d’un chapitre du nouvel ouvrage de Pierre Verluise, « Géopolitique des
frontières européennes. Elargir, jusqu’où ? », illustré de 20 cartes en couleur, éd. Argos,
2013, diffusion Puf. Les tableaux et les cartes qui illustrent cet entretien ne sont pas
reproduits ici.
Dans quelle mesure le Partenariat oriental est-il le produit d’une action spécifiquement
centre-européenne, et notamment polonaise ?
Le Partenariat oriental est né d’une initiative conjointe de la Pologne et de la Suède, dont l’objet
consistait à développer une politique plus cohérente et ciblée à l’Est, à défaut d’être vraiment
originale. La présidence tchèque, la première d’un pays centre-européen, porte le projet et
parvient à organiser en mai 2009 un Sommet européen pour lancer le Partenariat oriental. Le
contexte politique est alors fortement marqué par le conflit russo-géorgien d’août 2008. La
dégradation de l’environnement de sécurité a été mal anticipée par les différents acteurs
européens, qui acceptent l’idée de porter davantage attention à ces pays.
Le rôle de la Pologne est évidemment essentiel dans ce processus. Varsovie peut se prévaloir
d’une présence régionale ancienne, puisque l’empire polono-lituanien couvrait les deux tiers
occidentaux de l’Ukraine actuelle au XVIe siècle. La volonté de jouer un rôle en Europe
orientale n’est donc pas nouvelle. Alors que la Pologne semblait marginalisée dans le jeu des
puissances européennes, le Général J. Pilsudski pouvait souligner le rôle original de son pays et
dire au cours des années 1930 : « cette petite Pologne qui ne devait rester qu’un satellite dans
l’orbite des grandes puissances donne une nouvelle orientation à la politique en Europe
centrale » [1]. Outre l’histoire, la Pologne a pu compter un certain nombre de centres de
réflexion qui nourrissent déjà depuis plusieurs années les débats européens sur la dimension
orientale de l’UE. Les intérêts de la société civile et des acteurs économiques complètent ce
tableau.
Toutefois, présenter le Partenariat oriental comme une volonté polonaise avec des habits
européens paraît être une exagération [2]. Certes, il existe une préférence polonaise forte pour un
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approfondissement des relations avec les voisins orientaux, liée à un emplacement géopolitique,
une tradition politique, une perception de la sécurité et des intérêts économiques. Néanmoins, la
capacité administrative de l’Etat polonais dans le contexte européen ainsi que les préférences
divergentes des autres pays européens ont freiné les ambitions polonaises. Dans la difficulté
lorsqu’il s’agissait de construire des coalitions européennes à l’époque des frères Kaczynski
(2005-2007), la Pologne de Donald Tusk paraît plus à l’aise dans cet exercice : les relations sont
devenues plus constructives avec l’Allemagne, avec le groupe de Visegrad (Hongrie, République
tchèque, Slovaquie et Pologne), les pays scandinaves, les Etats baltes ou la Grande-Bretagne.
Au final, on peut estimer qu’en dépit d’un rôle moteur, la Pologne n’aurait pas été capable de
rallier l’ensemble des pays européens autour d’un Secrétariat du Partenariat oriental avec une coprésidence polono-ukrainienne (sur le modèle français de l’Union pour la Méditerranée),
notamment en cas d’hostilité de l’Allemagne.
Le Partenariat oriental concerne six pays : Arménie, Azerbaïdjan, Biélorussie, Géorgie,
Moldavie
et
Ukraine.
Quelles
sont
leurs
caractéristiques ?
Ces Etats sont tous le fruit de la dissolution de l’Union soviétique (1991) : ils partagent donc une
histoire commune plus ou moins longue, des héritages économiques, culturels, sociaux ou
politiques ainsi que des affinités ou des inimitiés plus ou moins fortes les uns envers les autres.
Pour autant, ces différents pays ont suivi des trajectoires de développement parfois divergentes,
alors que leur dotation initiale n’était pas nécessairement identique.
Afin d’étudier les caractéristiques communes des pays du voisinage oriental, ainsi qu’apprécier
leur diversité, il convient d’observer les indicateurs relatifs aux données physiques,
économiques, démographiques et politiques.
Au premier abord, ces pays ne forment pas un groupe homogène sur le plan de la géographie
physique et humaine : l’écart de superficie est d’environ de 1 à 20, l’écart de population
d’environ 1 à 15 (entre l’Ukraine et l’Arménie), la densité varie de 1 à 3 (entre la Biélorussie et
la Moldavie). À elle seule, l’Ukraine représente les trois cinquièmes de la superficie et de la
population cumulées des six partenaires orientaux. En outre, ces pays sont géographiquement
distincts entre ceux de l’Europe Orientale (Biélorussie, Moldavie et Ukraine), situés entre l’UE
et la Russie, et ceux du Caucase du Sud (Arménie, Azerbaïdjan et Géorgie), coincés entre les
champs d’influence russe et turc. Cette situation induit des orientations géopolitiques
différentes : l’Iran et la Turquie sont par exemple bien présents dans le Caucase, mais leur
faculté à influencer les pays d’Europe orientale est bien moindre.
Néanmoins, cette diversité existe dans des proportions plus importantes au niveau européen :
l’écart entre le pays le plus peuplé et le moins peuplé, le plus vaste et le plus petit y est beaucoup
plus grand [3]. A l’exception de l’Ukraine, et dans une moindre mesure de la Biélorussie, ce sont
plutôt des pays de taille et de population modestes, ayant soit une frontière directe avec l’UE
pour l’Europe orientale, soit une proximité via la mer Noire pour le Caucase du Sud.
Sur le plan économique, là-aussi, des divergences apparaissent. Si la Biélorussie a un niveau de
vie représentant 41,5% du PIB européen par habitant en parité de pouvoir d’achat, ce chiffre
n’est que de 7,6% pour la Moldavie. La Biélorussie fait d’ailleurs mieux que la Roumanie sur ce
plan, et jeu égal avec la Bulgarie, les deux Etats-membres les plus pauvres de l’UE. Les indices
de compétitivité et l’évaluation de la qualité des infrastructures classent ces pays au milieu du
peloton mondial du fait d’un manque d’investissements prolongé. De nombreux facteurs peuvent
9
expliquer ces résultats économiques relativement décevant, malgré la tendance au rattrapage
observée avant la crise.
La question énergétique, si elle est essentielle dans tous les pays concernés, se pose selon des
modalités différentes. Ces pays sont globalement marqués par une faible efficacité énergétique,
et l’importance du gaz dans le mix énergétique, à l’exception de la Géorgie. Ce dernier point est
important si l’on se souvient des particularités du marché du gaz, dont le fonctionnement est
régional et requiert en outre des investissements importants. Leur position sur le marché diffère :
l’Azerbaïdjan est un pays producteur de gaz important, tandis que l’Ukraine et la Biélorussie
apparaissent comme des pays de transit essentiels pour l’UE, et la Géorgie dans une moindre
mesure. Ce dernier pays présente la spécificité de s’être détourné du gaz russe depuis 2006, en
réorientant sa politique étrangère vers l’Azerbaïdjan qui lui est autonome de ce point de vue, et
entend en profiter dans sa politique étrangère, tant avec la Russie qu’avec l’UE.
Les indicateurs démographiques montrent également une relative homogénéité de ces pays. À
l’exception de l’Azerbaïdjan, juste au-dessus de deux enfants par femme, l’indice de fécondité
montre une démographie peu dynamique, inférieure à la démographie européenne pourtant
connue pour sa relative atonie. L’Azerbaïdjan se caractérise, outre par sa natalité, par une assez
faible espérance de vie et un taux de mortalité infantile élevé. Par contraste, la Biélorussie
présente les caractéristiques des pays développés : son indice de développement humain est le
plus élevé des pays du voisinage, alors que son taux de mortalité infantile est comparable à la
moyenne de l’UE. Si la Géorgie a une espérance de vie à la naissance inférieure d’un an et demi
en dessous de la moyenne européenne, les autres sont relégués de 5 à 11 ans de celle-ci. En
d’autres termes, leur situation démographique varie, avec malgré tout des similitudes notables.
Les indicateurs politiques montrent l’émergence de deux groupes distincts de pays. D’une part,
ceux dont les ambitions européennes permettent d’éviter tout glissement trop autoritaire,
composé de la Géorgie, de l’Ukraine et de la Moldavie. D’autre part, ceux qui se tiennent plus
loin de ce processus et dont le pouvoir est plus centralisé, à savoir l’Azerbaïdjan, la Biélorussie
et à un degré moindre l’Arménie. Parmi les bons élèves, la Géorgie a fait un effort particulier
dans la lutte contre la « petite corruption », et obtenu des résultats tangibles. L’essentiel des
résultats a cependant été réalisé dans la foulée de l’arrivée de M. Saakashvili, avant même la
mise en place de la PEV. Il faudra un peu de temps pour évaluer les résultats des élections
législatives de l’automne 2012 en Géorgie. Pour sa part, la Moldavie apparaît comme un pays où
la presse est relativement libre, présentant un meilleur bilan que l’Italie (61e au classement).
Kiev a également connu un regain d’intérêts de la part de l’UE et des États-Unis après la
« Révolution orange », mais une certaine « fatigue de l’Ukraine » s’est fait jour à partir de 20082009, plus encore avec la victoire de Viktor Ianoukovitch en janvier 2010.
Au-delà des classements, les tendances en matière de démocratisation paraissent toutefois
défavorables, puisque seule la Moldavie fait figure d’État allant vers davantage de pluralisme
démocratique ces dernières années, les autres étant au final stagnants en la matière dans le
meilleur des cas.
Quel bilan peut-on faire des premières années du Partenariat oriental ? Le Partenariat
oriental a-t-il les moyens de ses ambitions, notamment sur le plan budgétaire, pour
répondre aux attentes diverses dont il fait l’objet ?
Le Partenariat oriental est une politique encore jeune, puisqu’elle n’a que trois ans d’existence :
cette politique est encore dans une large mesure en train de se construire, de s’affiner. Son bilan
10
s’avère donc mitigé : il n’y a pas de grande réalisation à mettre à l’actif de cette politique, même
si son potentiel n’est pas remis en cause.
Ce Partenariat s’appuie sur plusieurs objectifs : la conclusion d’accords d’association avec
chaque pays, la préparation d’accord de libre-échange approfondi et complet, l’établissement
d’un régime sans visa ou la coopération en matière énergétique ou sectorielle [4]. Le programme
cherche également à consolider l’État de droit, les institutions démocratiques et la société civile.
Or, la plupart des missions attribuées ne pourront produire des effets que sur le long terme.
L’adhésion de la Moldavie et de l’Ukraine à la Communauté européenne de l’énergie n’est pas
de nature à changer rapidement le mix énergétique des pays concernés, ni à réduire la forces des
oppositions et résistances locales au changement. La reprise de l’acquis communautaire est un
processus long est complexe, dans la mesure où il ne coïncide pas toujours avec les intérêts et les
perceptions des acteurs locaux.
Si l’UE n’entendait pas initialement baisser sa contribution en ce qui concerne la politique de
voisinage, la renégociation budgétaire revêt une importance particulière [5]. La Commission
européenne a proposé un certain nombre d’initiatives pilotes pour mettre en avant le bilan de
cette politique : le programme de management intégré de la frontière (44,5 millions €), la facilité
pour les PME (57 millions €), les marchés régionaux de l’électricité, des sources d’énergies
renouvelables et de l’efficacité énergétique (41 millions €), la gouvernance environnementale
(12 millions €) et la prévention et la préparation aux désastres naturels (12 millions €). Toutes
ces sommes ne devraient pas sensiblement baisser malgré la crise de la zone euro qui
n’encourage pas les acteurs européens à être ambitieux au-delà de leurs frontières [6].
Le débat sur l’adhésion comme pré-requis aux transformations est un débat au fond moins
essentiel qu’il n’y paraît. Le Partenariat oriental permet potentiellement le rattachement à
l’Europe économique via les accords de libre-échange approfondi et complet (ALEAC), à
l’Europe de l’énergie via la Communauté européenne de l’énergie, et à l’espace de circulation
européen via les visas. Dans cette perspective, l’ALEAC suppose une large réappropriation de
l’acquis communautaire, dont le niveau d’exigence normatif et technique est celui d’économies
développées, par exemple pour les normes phytosanitaires et sanitaires. Les différents bénéfices
attendus pour un élargissement sont déjà sur la table. Du reste, la stagnation politique des pays
de l’Europe du Sud-Est en dépit d’une promesse d’adhésion montre qu’il n’y a pas
d’automaticité entre promesse d’élargissement et réforme. En dépit de l’absence d’une promesse
d’adhésion, l’Arménie a fait de grand progrès dans sa coopération avec l’UE depuis 20082009. [7]
Copyright 2013-Parmentier-Verluise/Diploweb/Argos.

Plus
Pierre Verluise, « Géopolitique des frontières européennes. Elargir, jusqu’où ? », illustré de 20
cartes en couleur, éd. Argos, 2013, diffusion Puf.

Recommander cette page
[1] Yvon, Bizardel, « La politique étrangère de la Pologne », Politique étrangère, n°5, 1937, p.
431.
11
[2] Nathaniel Copsey, Karolina Pomorska, “Poland’s power and influence in the European
Union : The case of its eastern policy”, Comparative European Politics, Vol.8, n°3, pp. 304-326.
[3] L’écart entre la population luxembourgeoise et allemande est de l’ordre de 1 pour 160, tandis
que l’écart entre le territoire luxembourgeois et la France Dom-Tom compris est de 1 pour 260.
[4] David Cadier, Florent Parmentier, « UE Partenariat Oriental : quelles perspectives ? »,
diploweb.com, 12 décembre 2009.
[5] Nicolas Bizel, « Le cadre financier pluriannuel 2014-2020 : un budget à la hauteur des
ambitions européennes ? », euro-power.eu, mai 2012.
[6] Note de Pierre Verluise : pour le prochain budget de l’UE, à compter de 2014, il convient
cependant d’attendre la fin des négociations.
[7] La suite du chapitre, publié dans l’ouvrage de Pierre Verluise, « Géopolitique des frontières
européennes », éd. Argos, aborde les questions suivantes. Les acteurs européens doivent-ils
conserver une approche commune pour l’ensemble du voisinage en mettant en avant la politique
européenne de voisinage, ou poursuivre une politique régionalisée comme le Partenariat
oriental ? La grille de lecture de la concurrence entre le Sud et l’Est pour l’accès et l’utilisation
des ressources européennes est-elle pour autant la seule pertinente pour comprendre les
affrontements au sein de l’UE ? La Russie n’est pas membre du partenariat oriental. Elle avait
refusé la politique européenne de voisinage (2004), lui a-t-on proposé le partenariat oriental ?
Existe-t-il des frictions, des concurrences, des coopérations entre la Russie et l’UE sur ces six
pays ? Plus généralement, quelles sont les voies politiques des relations UE-Russie ? Existe-t-il
pour les six pays du Partenariat oriental des programmes concurrents portés par d’autres pays
(Etats-Unis, Chine) ?

12

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UE : Ce fel de Parteneriat Estic ?

  • 1. EU The Eastern Partnership Par Florent PARMENTIER, Pierre VERLUISE, le 21 novembre 2013 Florent Parmentier is lecturer at Sciences-Po, Paris. Pierre Verluise is Director of Diploweb.com. Launched officially in 2009, the Eastern Partnership involves six countries on the eastern edge of the European Union : Belarus, Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. What are the aims of this EU policy and what do the partner countries have in common ? Florent Parmentier offers some precise answers and an early progress report. He then sheds some light on the competition between eastern and southern regions of the EU. The interview ends with a look eastwards from the EU to other big-hitters : Russia, the USA and China. As part of its interdisciplinary approach to geopolitical analysis, Diploweb.com is delighted to bring you an extract from the new work by Pierre Verluise, Géopolitique des frontières européennes. Elargir, jusqu’où ? (The Geopolitics of the European Frontiers ? Where Should Expansion Stop ?), illustrated by 20 color maps, published in France by Argos, 2013, and distributed by Puf. The selected extract is in fact the sixth chapter, published under the title : Quel partenariat oriental ? Pierre Verluise : To what extent is the Eastern Partnership the result of specifically Central European initiatives, notably by Poland ? Florent Parmentier : The Eastern Partnership originated in a joint initiative by Poland and Sweden, the aim being to develop a more coherent, targeted ─ if not truly original ─ policy for the East. The Czech presidency, the first held by a Central European nation, championed the project and, in May 1990, succeeded in organizing a European Summit to launch the Eastern Partnership. The political context has since been deeply affected by the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008. The European nations had not seen this damage to the security environment coming and now accept the idea of paying closer attention to these countries. The role of Poland in the process was obviously essential. Warsaw can claim seniority as a player in the region ; as long ago as the 16th century, the Polish-Lithuanian empire encompassed the two westernmost thirds of present-day Ukraine. The desire to play a role in Eastern Europe is therefore nothing new. Though Poland appeared to have only a bit part in the European power plays, General Józef Piłsudski, back in the 1930s, underlined the original role played by his country and how : “this little Poland that should have just remained a satellite in the orbit of the major powers pointed Central European politics in a new direction” [1]. History aside, Poland has a number of think tanks that have already been contributing for a number of years to debate in Europe on the eastern dimension of the EU. The interests of civil society and various economic players complete the picture. It would, however, be an exaggeration, to portray the Eastern Partnership as a Polish idea dressed in European clothes [2]. True, Poland has a strong preference for the development of deeper relations with eastern neighbors, linked to its geopolitical location, political tradition, and perception of its security and economic interests. However, the administrative capacity of the Polish state in the European context and the diverging preferences of the other European countries have hampered Polish ambitions. Under the leadership of the Kaczynski brothers 1
  • 2. (2005-2007) Poland had difficulty in attempting to build European coalitions, but appears more comfortable in this exercise under Donald Tusk : relations have become more constructive with Germany, the Visegrad group (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland), the Scandinavian countries, the Baltic States and the UK. Ultimately, it is fair to say that though it played a leading role, Poland would not have been capable of bringing together all the European countries around an Eastern Partnership Secretariat with a joint Polish-Ukrainian presidency (based on the French blueprint for the Union for the Mediterranean), notably in the event of German opposition. P. V : The Eastern Partnership involves six countries : Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldavia and Ukraine. What are their characteristics ? F. P : These States were created in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991) : they consequently share a history that is more or less old, economic cultural, social and political legacies, and varying levels of affinity or enmity towards each other. Yet these countries have tended to follow separate development paths from unequal home bases. Physical, economic, demographic and political indicators provide eloquent insights into the characteristics shared by these Eastern doorstep countries. At first sight, these countries do not form a homogeneous group in terms of physical and human geography : areas differ by a factor of 1 to 20 ; the difference in population ranges from 1 to 15 (between Ukraine and Armenia) ; and density ranges from 1 to 3 (between Belarus and Moldavia). Ukraine alone accounts for three fifths of the area and the total population of the six Eastern partners. Also, there are geographical distinctions between the countries of Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldavia and Ukraine), located between the EU and Russia, and those of Southern Caucasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), trapped between the Russian and Turkish areas of influence. This situation leads to different geopolitical orientations : Iran and Turkey, for example, carry weight in Caucasia but have less potential to influence the countries of Eastern Europe. However, this diversity of area and population is on a far greater scale if we look at Europe as a whole [3]. With the exception of Ukraine, and to a lesser extent Belarus, the Eastern Partnership countries are of modest size and population. In Eastern Europe they have a direct frontier with the EU. In Southern Caucasia they are close to the Black Sea. On the economic level too, there are divergences. Compared with the standard of living in Belarus ─ the equivalent of 41.5% of European GDP per capita in purchasing power standards ─ that of Moldavia attains just 7.6%. Belarus in fact bests Romania on this count, and equals Bulgaria, these being the two poorest EU member States. In terms of competitiveness index and infrastructure quality these countries lie in the middle of the world rankings as a result of lack of extended investment. These relatively disappointing economic results are explained by multiple factors, though a trend towards a reduction of the gap was observed before the economic crisis. The energy issue, while essential in all the countries concerned, takes different forms. These countries, with the exception of Georgia, are globally marked by low energy efficiency, and the importance of gas in their energy mix. This latter point is important if we bear in mind the specificities of the gas market, which operates on a regional scale and requires substantial investment. Their position varies from one country to another : Azerbaijan is a major gasproducing country and, while Ukraine and Belarus are essential transit nations for the EU, 2
  • 3. Georgia is less so. Georgia in fact has the particularity of having turned away from Russian gas since 2006, redirecting its foreign policy towards Azerbaijan, which is self-sufficient for energy resources, and intends to take advantage of this in its foreign policy with both Russia and the EU. Demographic indicators also show these countries to be relatively homogeneous. With the exception of Azerbaijan, with just over two live births per woman, the fertility rate is sluggish, even lower than that of Europe. Azerbaijan is characterized, in addition to its birth rate, by a relatively low life expectancy and a high infant mortality. By contrast, Belarus has the characteristics of the developed countries, with the highest human development index (HDI) among the neighboring countries, yet an infant mortality rate comparable to the average for the EU. While Georgia has a life expectancy at birth that is by one and a half years below the European average, the shortfall in the other countries ranges from 5 to 11 years. In other words, despite some clear similarities, demographic situations vary. Political indicators show the emergence of two distinct groups of countries. On one hand are those with European ambitions that provide a barrier against a slide into authoritarianism. These are Georgia, Ukraine and Moldavia. Moreover, this process remains remote in countries where power is more centralized, namely Azerbaijan, Belarus and, to a lesser degree, Armenia. Among the star pupils, Georgia has made a big effort in the fight against “small-scale corruption”, and achieved tangible results. Most of these results have, however, been achieved since the arrival of Mikheil Saakashvili, even before the ENP was introduced. We will need more time before we can assess the results of the fall 2012 legislative elections in Georgia. Moldavia appears to be a country with a relatively free press, ranking higher than Italy (61st). Kiev has also been on the radar of the EU and the USA since the “Orange Revolution”, though the mood has become more blasé since 2008-2009, a tendency accentuated since the victory of Viktor Yanukovich in January 2010. Rankings aside, trends in terms of democratization do not look positive, as only Moldavia stands out as a State that has been moving towards a pluralist democracy in recent years, while the other countries are ultimately, at best, standing still. P. V : How do you assess the achievements of the Eastern Partnership after these first few years ? Does it have the means, notably the budget, to fulfill its ambitions and address expectancies ? F. P : The Eastern Partnership is still a fledgling policy, as it has only been operational for three years : it is still largely a work in progress. There is not much to celebrate and we cannot single out any great achievements. However its potential remains intact. The Partnership has several aims : the conclusion of agreements with each country ; the preparation of a complete, in-depth free trade agreement, visa-free travel, and energy or sectoral cooperation [4]. The program also aims to consolidate the rule of law, democratic institutions and civil society. However, most of its assigned missions will only be effective in the long term. Moldavia and Ukraine’s accession to the European energy Community will not have a rapid impact on the energy mix of the countries concerned, nor will it diminish the opposition forces or local resistance to change. Integrating the EU heritage is a long and complex process insofar as it does not always sit comfortably with the interests and perceptions of local stakeholders. While the EU did not initially intend to cut back its contribution to neighborhood policy, budgetary negotiation is of particular importance [5]. The European Commission has put forward a number of key initiatives to showcase the results of this policy : integrated management of 3
  • 4. external borders (€44.5 million), facilities for SME (€57 million), regional electricity markets, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency (€41 million), environmental governance (€12 million) and natural disaster prevention and preparedness (€12 million). None of these endowments should be significantly reduced despite the euro zone crisis that cools the ambitions entertained by European countries beyond their borders. Debate as to whether accession is a prerequisite to transformation is ultimately less essential than may appear. The Eastern Partnership potentially provides for attachment to the EU economy via comprehensive, in-depth agreements (ALEAC), access to European energy via the European Energy Community, and visa-free European travel. The ALEAC implementation assumes that the beneficiary countries broadly take on board the community legacy, because the EU requirements in terms of standards and technology, for example in the phytosanitary and sanitary fields, are those of developed economies. The expected benefits of enlargement are already on the table. Also, the political stagnation of the South-East European countries, in spite of the promise of accession, shows that reform does not follow on automatically from accession. Though Armenia has received no promises of accession, it has made great progress in cooperation with the EU since 2008-2009. P. V : Should the European stakeholders maintain a common approach to neighborhood as a whole by prioritizing European neighborhood policy, or pursue a regionalized policy like the Eastern Partnership ? Europe is indeed on the horns of a dilemma... F. P : Europe is indeed on the horns of a dilemma : if it wishes to maintain a single, allencompassing framework for both Eastern and Southern neighbors, it takes the risk of leading a policy that will be too general to be truly efficient ; if it opts for a specific policy, the Member States are likely to find themselves head to head on priorities that ought to be those of the EU. This tension has been present since the 1990s, a decade during which French diplomacy feared that enlargement would jeopardize preferential relations with the Southern Mediterranean. The 1995 Barcelona process was thus the direct result of the formation of enlargement policies that were at the time relatively recent. The same phenomenon occurred at the inception of the European neighborhood policy : the initial approach targeted the geographically intermediary states (Belarus, Moldavia, Ukraine) and Russia, but French and Italian diplomats pushed for inclusion of their Southern neighbors in the policy, an initiative that was welcomed by the Commission. However, attempts at regionalization were soon to appear : in 2007 with the launch of the Black Sea Synergy ; in 2008 with the Union for the Mediterranean ; and in 2009 with the Eastern Partnership. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) has grown significantly from the idea of a Mediterranean Union that was only to involve the States of the Mediterranean rim, but Germany was stoutly opposed, and the Commission scarcely appreciated being sidelined in the process. The Eastern Partnership, intent on differentiating between the treatment of “European neighbors” and that of “Europe’s neighbors”, has been presented more pragmatically with regard to the institutions, and has secured a manner of concession enabling Poland to join the UfM. Faced with a risk of dispersal, the Commission remains watchful and is working to produce a consistent framework for the neighborhood as a whole, with scope to keep as many options as possible open. After all, Germany is one of the big investors in the Mediterranean countries, with a special interest in all things economic. More surprisingly, countries like Italy, Spain and Portugal have seen a growing influx of nationals from the former Soviet countries, notably Moldavians and Ukrainians. These developments do not affect the specific characteristics of the 4
  • 5. different countries, but do tend to eliminate the option of considering them as natural monopolies. P. V : Is the competition between South and East for accessing and using European resources the only key to understanding the confrontations within the EU ? F. P : In the wake of the “Arab Spring” in 2011, bringing hope but also anxiety, the Europeans have had to rethink their neighborhood policy [6]. Hope has been raised insofar as the democratic ideal has at last been forcibly expressed in the South after decades of authoritarianism. Anxiety because of the possible outcomes of jeopardized stability, with the twofold risks of migrations and Islamist politics Moreover, this major movement has not failed to cause concern of another order to the East of the EU. The Eastern Partnership capitals fear ─ and they sometimes admit it ─ that they may lose their geopolitical importance to the benefit of the South, this being apparent in unfavorable arbitration with a view to the renegotiation of the European budget for 2013-2020. Despite the reassurances given by European Commissioner Stefan Füle as to the EU’s ongoing commitment to the East, even while the Arab Spring was in full swing, there is real concern [7]. There is no escaping the fact that an Egyptian or a Tunisian received less than two euros per year per capita of EU assistance, way below the norm in the East. Notwithstanding, the EU’s role is not just limited to the distribution of economic aid against a backdrop of interregional rivalry. Firstly, it should not be forgotten that the South and the East are regions with marked internal diversity, and this also creates rivalry. European policy is fully aware of this situation insofar as relations with the countries concerned are bilateral and not regional. There may even be potentially opposed policies for the same region. Thus, the advocates of the Black Sea Synergy led by the Romanians and the Bulgarians, have cast a concerned eye over the development of the Eastern Partnership, aware of the risks of duplicating agendas and political goals liable to reduce their influence over the definition of the EU’s eastern policy. European power consists notably of exporting standards, of shaping political and socio-economic environments in the neighborhood countries. Confrontations and rivalries are often stronger between the countries of the South and the East, rather than between the two regions. In other words, progress achieved in negotiating a complete, consolidated free trade agreement in Moldavia is irrelevant to a country like Morocco. Conversely, a visa-free travel agreement between the EU and Georgia is likely to receive much closer attention from Ukrainian diplomacy. If we are to believe the 2011 Review of Neighbourhood Policy [8] there will be no let-up in the Eastern Partnership, and no escalation in competition between East and South, for the simple reason that the principle of differentiation does not discriminate between regions. The UfM, however, takes more flak from the Commission, still unconvinced by this very intergovernmental policy. The UfM’s tendency to turn a blind eye to political regimes goes against the EU mantra of “shared values” in a “Partnership for democracy and shared prosperity”. P. V : Russia is not a member of the Eastern Partnership. It had rejected the European neighborhood policy (2004). Was it offered the Eastern Partnership option ? Is there friction, competition or cooperation between Russia and the EU on these six countries ? More generally, what are the political paths available to EU-Russian relations ? 5
  • 6. F. P : When the European Neighbourhood Policy was launched, Russia eschewed the opportunity on the grounds that it was a “power” and not a “neighbor”, thus deserving special attention. However Moscow, already a member of the Black Sea Synergy, was not offered the chance to become an Eastern partner, unlike Turkey, which refused to join in February 2009. The Eastern Partnership, which casts an envious eye over the Russian “foreigner on its doorstep”, was initially criticized by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, who queried whether its role was not an opportunity for the EU to “extend its sphere of influence”. Thus, the Kremlin used an argument often directed against itself. When the EU leaned heavily on Belarus, persuading it to refuse to acknowledge the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia ─ a practice debatably somewhat remote from the Partnership’s avowed high ground of democratic principle ─ Moscow saw a clear-cut case of double standards. In 2012, the Eastern Partnership worries Russia less, as it is no longer perceived as a policy for cramping Russian influence. Maybe the Eastern Partnership simply does not have the wherewithal. As Vladimir Chizhov, Russian Ambassador to the EU, put it with his typically biting irony and spikiness, “if it is not supported by a budget line it cannot go very far”. The most fervent backers of the Eastern Partnership are also among the Member States that are the most critical of Moscow (primarily Poland, Sweden, and the UK). Russia, however, is no longer scared to take on the EU on its own ground, that of standards, including in economics, where the proposed deep and comprehensive free trade agreement is increasingly rivaled by the Russianled Customs Union project. As for visas, it is unquestionably easier for a Ukrainian citizen to travel to Saint Petersburg than to Brussels. The opportunities for cooperation, in terms of migratory, energy or security policy, have not yet yielded tangible and durable results. Even though Russian and community interests diverge, this relationship should not be seen as a zero-sum game : the Kharkiv agreements signed between Presidents Viktor Yanukovich and Dmitry Medvedev in 2010, while highly controversial, are testimony to this [9]. This is because, by signing an agreement on the delineation of the Russia-Ukraine border, Moscow makes it easier for Kiev to renegotiate a simpler visa agreement with the EU. P. V : Do the six Eastern Partnership countries have rival programs championed by other countries (USA, China) ? F. P : The Eastern Partnership has not generated any particular political response from the other powers : it is not the first European incursion in the region. At most, the other powers have looked for ways to adapt to the new European policy. Hence the USA is setting out to maintain a strong trans-Atlantic line on this issue : over and above the so-called “reset” policy with Russia, and the new policy orientations towards the Middle East, Washington intends to preserve close links with a number of European Member States. The Eastern Partnership could sit nicely with the Americans’ declared goal of democratizing the post-Soviet area, even of ultimately including it in the Atlantic Alliance. At the same time, the USA, despite its undeniable economic and cultural influence, is not alone in taking an interest in the region along with the EU Member States. China is indeed shaping up as an emerging power in the region, notably because of its financial clout in countries severely affected by the crisis. Hence, Belarus has not just been content to develop joint-ventures with Chinese partners or to open the door to Chinese businesses when it has privatized ; it has also accepted Chinese loans. Likewise, Chinese demand is pulling Ukrainian exports in a number of fields. This is true notably in the iron and steel industry, active 6
  • 7. in Eastern Ukraine, and now dependent on Chinese imports. The same applies to agriculture. The change in Chinese eating habits has, for example, created a new market for Ukrainian corn exports. For the countries concerned, this fresh interest is obviously positive. Ultimately we can legitimately say that, for the neighborhood countries, it is good to be back on the map again. Copyright 2013-Parmentier-Verluise/Diploweb.com Translation : A. Fell Recommander cette page [1] Yvon, Bizardel, “La politique étrangère de la Pologne”, Politique étrangère, n°5, 1937, p. 431 (our translation). [2] Nathaniel Copsey, Karolina Pomorska, “Poland’s power and influence in the European Union : The case of its eastern policy”, Comparative European Politics, Vol. 8, n°3, pp. 304-326. [3] The population of Germany is around 160 times that of Luxembourg, while France, including its overseas territories has a population around 260 times greater than that of Luxembourg. [4] David Cadier, Florent Parmentier, “UE Partenariat Oriental : quelles perspectives ?”, www.diploweb.com, December 12 2009. [5] Nicolas Bizel, “Le cadre financier pluriannuel 2014-2020 : un budget à la hauteur des ambitions européennes ?” www.euro-power.eu, May 2012. [6] Florent Parmentier, “The Clash of Neighbourhoods ? The Impact of the ‘Arab Spring’ on the EU’s Neighbourhood Policy”, in Edmund Ratka, Olga Spaiser, Understanding European Neighbourhood Policies. Concepts, Actors, Perceptions, Baden Baden, Nomos, 2012. [7] “Stefan Füle : EU won’t allow Arab revolutions to be ‘stolen’”, Euractiv, April 13 2011, euractiv.com/en/global-europe/tefan-le-eu-wont-allow-arab-revolutions-stolen-interview504001, [8] SEAE / European Commission, “A new response to a Changing Neighbourhood. A review of European Neighbourhood Policy”, May 25 2011, ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/com_11_303_en.pdf [9] Richard Connolly, Nathaniel Copsey, “The Great Slump of 2008-9 and Ukraine’s Integration with the European Union”, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Vol.27, n°3-4, September–December 2011, pp.541-565. 7
  • 8. Version en français UE : quel partenariat oriental ? Par Florent PARMENTIER, Pierre VERLUISE, le 10 février 2013 Florent Parmentier, docteur en Science politique, est enseignant à Sciences-Po Paris ou il dirige notamment la filière énergie du Master Affaires Publiques. Ses intérêts de recherche incluent l’étude de la "grande Europe" (notamment les pays du Partenariat Oriental) et la politique énergétique européenne. Pierre Verluise est Directeur du site diploweb.com. Il enseigne la Géographie politique à la Sorbonne, au MRIAE de l’Université Paris I. Il a fondé le séminaire géopolitique de l’Europe à l’Ecole de guerre. Biélorussie, Ukraine, Moldavie, Géorgie, Arménie et Azerbaïdjan sont les six pays concernés par le Partenariat oriental de l’Union européenne, officiellement lancé en 2009. Quelles sont les ambitions de cette politique de l’UE et les caractéristiques des pays partenaires ? F. Parmentier apporte des réponses précises et propose un premier bilan. Entretien de Pierre Verluise , directeur du Diploweb.com avec Florent Parmentier, enseignant à Sciences-Po Paris. Ce texte est extrait d’un chapitre du nouvel ouvrage de Pierre Verluise, « Géopolitique des frontières européennes. Elargir, jusqu’où ? », illustré de 20 cartes en couleur, éd. Argos, 2013, diffusion Puf. Les tableaux et les cartes qui illustrent cet entretien ne sont pas reproduits ici. Dans quelle mesure le Partenariat oriental est-il le produit d’une action spécifiquement centre-européenne, et notamment polonaise ? Le Partenariat oriental est né d’une initiative conjointe de la Pologne et de la Suède, dont l’objet consistait à développer une politique plus cohérente et ciblée à l’Est, à défaut d’être vraiment originale. La présidence tchèque, la première d’un pays centre-européen, porte le projet et parvient à organiser en mai 2009 un Sommet européen pour lancer le Partenariat oriental. Le contexte politique est alors fortement marqué par le conflit russo-géorgien d’août 2008. La dégradation de l’environnement de sécurité a été mal anticipée par les différents acteurs européens, qui acceptent l’idée de porter davantage attention à ces pays. Le rôle de la Pologne est évidemment essentiel dans ce processus. Varsovie peut se prévaloir d’une présence régionale ancienne, puisque l’empire polono-lituanien couvrait les deux tiers occidentaux de l’Ukraine actuelle au XVIe siècle. La volonté de jouer un rôle en Europe orientale n’est donc pas nouvelle. Alors que la Pologne semblait marginalisée dans le jeu des puissances européennes, le Général J. Pilsudski pouvait souligner le rôle original de son pays et dire au cours des années 1930 : « cette petite Pologne qui ne devait rester qu’un satellite dans l’orbite des grandes puissances donne une nouvelle orientation à la politique en Europe centrale » [1]. Outre l’histoire, la Pologne a pu compter un certain nombre de centres de réflexion qui nourrissent déjà depuis plusieurs années les débats européens sur la dimension orientale de l’UE. Les intérêts de la société civile et des acteurs économiques complètent ce tableau. Toutefois, présenter le Partenariat oriental comme une volonté polonaise avec des habits européens paraît être une exagération [2]. Certes, il existe une préférence polonaise forte pour un 8
  • 9. approfondissement des relations avec les voisins orientaux, liée à un emplacement géopolitique, une tradition politique, une perception de la sécurité et des intérêts économiques. Néanmoins, la capacité administrative de l’Etat polonais dans le contexte européen ainsi que les préférences divergentes des autres pays européens ont freiné les ambitions polonaises. Dans la difficulté lorsqu’il s’agissait de construire des coalitions européennes à l’époque des frères Kaczynski (2005-2007), la Pologne de Donald Tusk paraît plus à l’aise dans cet exercice : les relations sont devenues plus constructives avec l’Allemagne, avec le groupe de Visegrad (Hongrie, République tchèque, Slovaquie et Pologne), les pays scandinaves, les Etats baltes ou la Grande-Bretagne. Au final, on peut estimer qu’en dépit d’un rôle moteur, la Pologne n’aurait pas été capable de rallier l’ensemble des pays européens autour d’un Secrétariat du Partenariat oriental avec une coprésidence polono-ukrainienne (sur le modèle français de l’Union pour la Méditerranée), notamment en cas d’hostilité de l’Allemagne. Le Partenariat oriental concerne six pays : Arménie, Azerbaïdjan, Biélorussie, Géorgie, Moldavie et Ukraine. Quelles sont leurs caractéristiques ? Ces Etats sont tous le fruit de la dissolution de l’Union soviétique (1991) : ils partagent donc une histoire commune plus ou moins longue, des héritages économiques, culturels, sociaux ou politiques ainsi que des affinités ou des inimitiés plus ou moins fortes les uns envers les autres. Pour autant, ces différents pays ont suivi des trajectoires de développement parfois divergentes, alors que leur dotation initiale n’était pas nécessairement identique. Afin d’étudier les caractéristiques communes des pays du voisinage oriental, ainsi qu’apprécier leur diversité, il convient d’observer les indicateurs relatifs aux données physiques, économiques, démographiques et politiques. Au premier abord, ces pays ne forment pas un groupe homogène sur le plan de la géographie physique et humaine : l’écart de superficie est d’environ de 1 à 20, l’écart de population d’environ 1 à 15 (entre l’Ukraine et l’Arménie), la densité varie de 1 à 3 (entre la Biélorussie et la Moldavie). À elle seule, l’Ukraine représente les trois cinquièmes de la superficie et de la population cumulées des six partenaires orientaux. En outre, ces pays sont géographiquement distincts entre ceux de l’Europe Orientale (Biélorussie, Moldavie et Ukraine), situés entre l’UE et la Russie, et ceux du Caucase du Sud (Arménie, Azerbaïdjan et Géorgie), coincés entre les champs d’influence russe et turc. Cette situation induit des orientations géopolitiques différentes : l’Iran et la Turquie sont par exemple bien présents dans le Caucase, mais leur faculté à influencer les pays d’Europe orientale est bien moindre. Néanmoins, cette diversité existe dans des proportions plus importantes au niveau européen : l’écart entre le pays le plus peuplé et le moins peuplé, le plus vaste et le plus petit y est beaucoup plus grand [3]. A l’exception de l’Ukraine, et dans une moindre mesure de la Biélorussie, ce sont plutôt des pays de taille et de population modestes, ayant soit une frontière directe avec l’UE pour l’Europe orientale, soit une proximité via la mer Noire pour le Caucase du Sud. Sur le plan économique, là-aussi, des divergences apparaissent. Si la Biélorussie a un niveau de vie représentant 41,5% du PIB européen par habitant en parité de pouvoir d’achat, ce chiffre n’est que de 7,6% pour la Moldavie. La Biélorussie fait d’ailleurs mieux que la Roumanie sur ce plan, et jeu égal avec la Bulgarie, les deux Etats-membres les plus pauvres de l’UE. Les indices de compétitivité et l’évaluation de la qualité des infrastructures classent ces pays au milieu du peloton mondial du fait d’un manque d’investissements prolongé. De nombreux facteurs peuvent 9
  • 10. expliquer ces résultats économiques relativement décevant, malgré la tendance au rattrapage observée avant la crise. La question énergétique, si elle est essentielle dans tous les pays concernés, se pose selon des modalités différentes. Ces pays sont globalement marqués par une faible efficacité énergétique, et l’importance du gaz dans le mix énergétique, à l’exception de la Géorgie. Ce dernier point est important si l’on se souvient des particularités du marché du gaz, dont le fonctionnement est régional et requiert en outre des investissements importants. Leur position sur le marché diffère : l’Azerbaïdjan est un pays producteur de gaz important, tandis que l’Ukraine et la Biélorussie apparaissent comme des pays de transit essentiels pour l’UE, et la Géorgie dans une moindre mesure. Ce dernier pays présente la spécificité de s’être détourné du gaz russe depuis 2006, en réorientant sa politique étrangère vers l’Azerbaïdjan qui lui est autonome de ce point de vue, et entend en profiter dans sa politique étrangère, tant avec la Russie qu’avec l’UE. Les indicateurs démographiques montrent également une relative homogénéité de ces pays. À l’exception de l’Azerbaïdjan, juste au-dessus de deux enfants par femme, l’indice de fécondité montre une démographie peu dynamique, inférieure à la démographie européenne pourtant connue pour sa relative atonie. L’Azerbaïdjan se caractérise, outre par sa natalité, par une assez faible espérance de vie et un taux de mortalité infantile élevé. Par contraste, la Biélorussie présente les caractéristiques des pays développés : son indice de développement humain est le plus élevé des pays du voisinage, alors que son taux de mortalité infantile est comparable à la moyenne de l’UE. Si la Géorgie a une espérance de vie à la naissance inférieure d’un an et demi en dessous de la moyenne européenne, les autres sont relégués de 5 à 11 ans de celle-ci. En d’autres termes, leur situation démographique varie, avec malgré tout des similitudes notables. Les indicateurs politiques montrent l’émergence de deux groupes distincts de pays. D’une part, ceux dont les ambitions européennes permettent d’éviter tout glissement trop autoritaire, composé de la Géorgie, de l’Ukraine et de la Moldavie. D’autre part, ceux qui se tiennent plus loin de ce processus et dont le pouvoir est plus centralisé, à savoir l’Azerbaïdjan, la Biélorussie et à un degré moindre l’Arménie. Parmi les bons élèves, la Géorgie a fait un effort particulier dans la lutte contre la « petite corruption », et obtenu des résultats tangibles. L’essentiel des résultats a cependant été réalisé dans la foulée de l’arrivée de M. Saakashvili, avant même la mise en place de la PEV. Il faudra un peu de temps pour évaluer les résultats des élections législatives de l’automne 2012 en Géorgie. Pour sa part, la Moldavie apparaît comme un pays où la presse est relativement libre, présentant un meilleur bilan que l’Italie (61e au classement). Kiev a également connu un regain d’intérêts de la part de l’UE et des États-Unis après la « Révolution orange », mais une certaine « fatigue de l’Ukraine » s’est fait jour à partir de 20082009, plus encore avec la victoire de Viktor Ianoukovitch en janvier 2010. Au-delà des classements, les tendances en matière de démocratisation paraissent toutefois défavorables, puisque seule la Moldavie fait figure d’État allant vers davantage de pluralisme démocratique ces dernières années, les autres étant au final stagnants en la matière dans le meilleur des cas. Quel bilan peut-on faire des premières années du Partenariat oriental ? Le Partenariat oriental a-t-il les moyens de ses ambitions, notamment sur le plan budgétaire, pour répondre aux attentes diverses dont il fait l’objet ? Le Partenariat oriental est une politique encore jeune, puisqu’elle n’a que trois ans d’existence : cette politique est encore dans une large mesure en train de se construire, de s’affiner. Son bilan 10
  • 11. s’avère donc mitigé : il n’y a pas de grande réalisation à mettre à l’actif de cette politique, même si son potentiel n’est pas remis en cause. Ce Partenariat s’appuie sur plusieurs objectifs : la conclusion d’accords d’association avec chaque pays, la préparation d’accord de libre-échange approfondi et complet, l’établissement d’un régime sans visa ou la coopération en matière énergétique ou sectorielle [4]. Le programme cherche également à consolider l’État de droit, les institutions démocratiques et la société civile. Or, la plupart des missions attribuées ne pourront produire des effets que sur le long terme. L’adhésion de la Moldavie et de l’Ukraine à la Communauté européenne de l’énergie n’est pas de nature à changer rapidement le mix énergétique des pays concernés, ni à réduire la forces des oppositions et résistances locales au changement. La reprise de l’acquis communautaire est un processus long est complexe, dans la mesure où il ne coïncide pas toujours avec les intérêts et les perceptions des acteurs locaux. Si l’UE n’entendait pas initialement baisser sa contribution en ce qui concerne la politique de voisinage, la renégociation budgétaire revêt une importance particulière [5]. La Commission européenne a proposé un certain nombre d’initiatives pilotes pour mettre en avant le bilan de cette politique : le programme de management intégré de la frontière (44,5 millions €), la facilité pour les PME (57 millions €), les marchés régionaux de l’électricité, des sources d’énergies renouvelables et de l’efficacité énergétique (41 millions €), la gouvernance environnementale (12 millions €) et la prévention et la préparation aux désastres naturels (12 millions €). Toutes ces sommes ne devraient pas sensiblement baisser malgré la crise de la zone euro qui n’encourage pas les acteurs européens à être ambitieux au-delà de leurs frontières [6]. Le débat sur l’adhésion comme pré-requis aux transformations est un débat au fond moins essentiel qu’il n’y paraît. Le Partenariat oriental permet potentiellement le rattachement à l’Europe économique via les accords de libre-échange approfondi et complet (ALEAC), à l’Europe de l’énergie via la Communauté européenne de l’énergie, et à l’espace de circulation européen via les visas. Dans cette perspective, l’ALEAC suppose une large réappropriation de l’acquis communautaire, dont le niveau d’exigence normatif et technique est celui d’économies développées, par exemple pour les normes phytosanitaires et sanitaires. Les différents bénéfices attendus pour un élargissement sont déjà sur la table. Du reste, la stagnation politique des pays de l’Europe du Sud-Est en dépit d’une promesse d’adhésion montre qu’il n’y a pas d’automaticité entre promesse d’élargissement et réforme. En dépit de l’absence d’une promesse d’adhésion, l’Arménie a fait de grand progrès dans sa coopération avec l’UE depuis 20082009. [7] Copyright 2013-Parmentier-Verluise/Diploweb/Argos. Plus Pierre Verluise, « Géopolitique des frontières européennes. Elargir, jusqu’où ? », illustré de 20 cartes en couleur, éd. Argos, 2013, diffusion Puf. Recommander cette page [1] Yvon, Bizardel, « La politique étrangère de la Pologne », Politique étrangère, n°5, 1937, p. 431. 11
  • 12. [2] Nathaniel Copsey, Karolina Pomorska, “Poland’s power and influence in the European Union : The case of its eastern policy”, Comparative European Politics, Vol.8, n°3, pp. 304-326. [3] L’écart entre la population luxembourgeoise et allemande est de l’ordre de 1 pour 160, tandis que l’écart entre le territoire luxembourgeois et la France Dom-Tom compris est de 1 pour 260. [4] David Cadier, Florent Parmentier, « UE Partenariat Oriental : quelles perspectives ? », diploweb.com, 12 décembre 2009. [5] Nicolas Bizel, « Le cadre financier pluriannuel 2014-2020 : un budget à la hauteur des ambitions européennes ? », euro-power.eu, mai 2012. [6] Note de Pierre Verluise : pour le prochain budget de l’UE, à compter de 2014, il convient cependant d’attendre la fin des négociations. [7] La suite du chapitre, publié dans l’ouvrage de Pierre Verluise, « Géopolitique des frontières européennes », éd. Argos, aborde les questions suivantes. Les acteurs européens doivent-ils conserver une approche commune pour l’ensemble du voisinage en mettant en avant la politique européenne de voisinage, ou poursuivre une politique régionalisée comme le Partenariat oriental ? La grille de lecture de la concurrence entre le Sud et l’Est pour l’accès et l’utilisation des ressources européennes est-elle pour autant la seule pertinente pour comprendre les affrontements au sein de l’UE ? La Russie n’est pas membre du partenariat oriental. Elle avait refusé la politique européenne de voisinage (2004), lui a-t-on proposé le partenariat oriental ? Existe-t-il des frictions, des concurrences, des coopérations entre la Russie et l’UE sur ces six pays ? Plus généralement, quelles sont les voies politiques des relations UE-Russie ? Existe-t-il pour les six pays du Partenariat oriental des programmes concurrents portés par d’autres pays (Etats-Unis, Chine) ? 12