Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia

Rethinking relationships in Europe’s East

By Jos Boonstra (04/11/2014) Commentary
Andreas Marazis

EU neighbourhood policies have produced few results in the tumultuous South and have been derailed both by Russia’s assertiveness and by very uneven local commitment in the East. A thorough review of the EU’s approach should be a top priority of the new EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and neighbourhood commissioner Johannes Hahn.

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 Göksel (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.

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

FRIDE ceased its think tank activities on 31st December 2015 for economic reasons. The Board of Trustees had to take this difficult decision since, despite many efforts to diversify its funding sources, FRIDE cannot sustain its think tank operations with a view to 2016 and beyond.

Established in 1999, FRIDE has made a major contribution to shape debate on Europe’s external activities in an increasingly challenging international environment. It has covered issues ranging from democracy and human rights to sustainable development, new approaches to multilateral cooperation and security affairs. FRIDE’s long-standing focus on the extended neighbourhood of the European Union proves today all the more relevant given widespread turbulence in the region. FRIDE’s emphasis on the importance of the values framing Europe’s external activities is central to current political debates in Europe and beyond. This shows the need for continued engagement in the pursuit of a common European foreign policy that is both effective and informed by the core values of European integration.

The Board wishes to thank Diego Hidalgo, FRIDE’s founder, for his tireless commitment and very generous support for many years. The Board also wishes to thank FRIDE’s dedicated staff, the members of the Board and the Advisory Committee for their contribution in making FRIDE one of the top foreign policy think tanks in Europe. We are very grateful to all those who have supported FRIDE’s work and projects over the years and we thank the many partners from all parts of the world who have worked with FRIDE on joint initiatives. We hope that FRIDE’s extensive input to the debate on Europe in the world will continue to inform thinking and action at a very critical time for Europe’s future.

The President of the Board

FRIDE cesó sus actividades como think tank el 31 de diciembre de 2015 por razones económicas. El Patronato tuvo que adoptar esta difícil decisión dado que, a pesar de los intensos esfuerzos realizados para diversificar sus fuentes de financiación, FRIDE no puede sostener sus operaciones como think tank a partir de 2016.

Establecido en 1999, FRIDE ha realizado una gran contribución al debate sobre las actividades exteriores de Europa en un ambiente internacional cada vez más complejo. Ha trabajado en temas que van desde la democracia y los derechos humanos al desarrollo sostenible, los nuevos enfoques en la cooperación multilateral y las cuestiones de seguridad. La atención prestada por FRIDE a la vecindad extendida de la Unión Europea durante mucho tiempo prueba ser hoy aún más relevante debido a la turbulencia que azota a la región. El énfasis de FRIDE en la importancia de los valores que enmarcan las actividades exteriores europeas es central en los debates en Europa y más allá. Esto muestra la necesidad de un compromiso continuo con la búsqueda de una política exterior europea común que sea eficaz y esté basada en los principios fundamentales de la integración europea.

El Patronato desea agradecer a Diego Hidalgo, fundador de FRIDE, por su incansable compromiso y muy generoso apoyo a lo largo de tantos años. También quiere expresar su gratitud a la dedicada plantilla, a los propios miembros del Patronato y del Comité Asesor por sus contribuciones para hacer de FRIDE uno de los principales think tanks de Europa en cuestiones de política exterior. Estamos muy agradecidos con todos aquellos que han apoyado el trabajo y los proyectos de FRIDE a través de los años y también damos las gracias a los numerosos socios de todas partes del mundo que han colaborado con FRIDE en iniciativas conjuntas. Esperamos que las extensas aportaciones de FRIDE al debate sobre Europa en el mundo continuará informando el pensamiento y la acción en un momento muy crítico para el futuro de Europa.

El Presidente del Patronato

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