Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia

Will Ukraine's new parliament speed up reforms?

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly/(CC BY-SA 2.0)

The eighth Ukrainian parliament will be pro-Ukrainian, pro-European and hopefully pro-reform. The composition of the new parliament should enable a strong pro-European majority to carry out promised reforms. These include the fight against corruption, reform of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, public administration reform and decentralisation, tax reform and business deregulation. Public pressure, also reinforced by civil society activists and journalists within the parliament, will be strong, but trust in the new government will not last for long. Ukraine does not have much time to start changing itself, and the costs of not reforming could become toxic for its statehood.

What role for the European Parliament in Central Asia?

By Tika Tsertsvadze (25/09/2014) Commentary

The challenges – internally and externally – for the new European legislature are numerous. Despite being only a small part of the puzzle, Central Asia should also be on the agenda. Authoritarianism remains on the rise and human rights and democracy are in decline throughout the region.

Turkey’s Russia conundrum: To court or to curb?

By Nigar Goksel (23/09/2014) Policy Brief
Hervé Bry/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Ukraine crisis has exposed Turkey’s efforts to avoid direct involvement in Russia-EU tensions. Ankara essentially hovers between gaining economic advantages from cooperation with Moscow and counterbalancing Russian assertiveness in the region. But Turkey's relatively neutral position will not be sustainable if it’s vital energy and security interests in the Caucasus are threatened. An alignment of EU-Turkey tactical cooperation and strategic thinking towards the Black Sea region has been distinctly lacking, but Turkish societal links with East European and South Caucasus countries could become an asset for Turkish-EU cooperation.

Russia and Central Asia

The EUCAM ‘European national policies series’ focuses not only on the policies of EU member states towards Central Asia, but also on those of other European actors outside the Union. Here, Russia is the main actor. What is Moscow’s approach in the fields of politics and values, trade and energy, security, development assistance, and cultural exchanges?

The politics of regionalism and decentralisation in Ukraine

The tragedy of MH17 has put Ukraine and its Russian-supported separatist revolt in Donbas in the limelight. The current Ukrainian government holds that transferring more power from the centre to the periphery will be an essential ingredient to addressing anti-Kyiv sentiments in Donbas and dampen future calls for regional autonomy and secession. This FRIDE policy brief argues that decentralisation will not halt the separatist insurgency in Donbas, but if implemented it should help to strengthen democracy in Ukraine.

Civic awakening: The impact of Euromaidan on Ukraine’s politics

José Luis Orihuela/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The MH17 air-crash disaster of July 17 is likely to have a severe impact on the development of the Donbas conflict in Ukraine as well as on EU-Russia relations. Written before the tragedy, this FRIDE working paper argues that the ‘Euromaidan’ protests, that occurred between December 2013 and February 2014, have provoked two fundamental changes that give grounds for cautious optimism about Ukraine’s incipient transition to democracy. First, after more than two decades of civic apathy and low impact, Ukrainian civil society seems to be on the rise. Second, state-society relations are being reconfigured, with citizens demanding greater oversight of and accountability from state institutions, and civic activists pushing for a greater role in policy-making. These new societal and political trends should be further supported by the European Union.

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