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Session Overview
Panel 704: Eastern Partnership: A 10 Year Performance Assessment Exercise
Tuesday, 03/Sep/2019:
4:45pm - 6:15pm

Session Chair: Dorina Baltag, Maastricht University
Location: Room 12.04

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Eastern Partnership: A 10 Year Performance Assessment Exercise

Chair(s): Dorina Baltag (Maastricht University, Netherlands, The)

Discussant(s): Giselle Bosse (Maastricht University)

The main purpose of an investigation in relation to what the EU achieves and how it performs on the world stage is to better inform both policy and strategy. This panel looking for contributors who are interested in evaluating the EaP, the policy that has been considered a step forward towards further differentiation as much as an instrument that lacks the potential to stimulate change in the Eastern neighbourhood. Looking retrospectively this panel will question whether the EU instruments are fit for purpose in the neighbourhood? What and where can the EU do better? Can the EU compete in a world of growing multipolarity and interdependence?


Presentations of the Symposium


Lessons Learned from the EU’s Effort in the ENP-East: Evaluation of the EaP Implementation

Dorina Baltag
Maastricht University

Scholarly research has been already proposing performance indicators that gauge both input (relevance, cohesion) and output (effectiveness, impact) aspects of the policy as well as its interaction with an external environment (resilience). This paper tests these performance indicators and brings forwards examples from the 6 EaP countries. Assessing relevance reflects on the position of both the EU Member States and EaP countries. Cohesion refers to the ability to articulate consistently policy preferences and to the consistent alignment of common policies among stakeholders, horizontally and vertically. Whereas goal attainment is probably the most common interpretation of effectiveness, it is the presence of unintended effects and unexpected consequences that is crucial in distinguishing impact from effectiveness. Resilience derives from the assessment of the policy’s potential flexibility and forward-looking quality. It refers to the policy’s capacity to change and adapt, and the possibility to re-engineer itself based on a learning process.


Human Rights in Belarus: EU Policy Performance since 2016

Alena Vieira1, Giselle Bosse2
1University of Minho, 2Maastricht University

This study provides an overview of the European Union’s contribution to promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus since 2016. This analysis presents the main human rights trends in Belarus, examining legislation, policy commitments and violations of human rights. While the Belarusian government has made nominal concessions towards the EU, no systemic progress in terms of human rights has been made in the post-2016 period. The study also describes and assesses the EU’s human rights promotion activities in bilateral EU-Belarus relations, within the context of the Eastern Partnership multilateral dimension and in regard to financial assistance. Although the EU has expanded the range of its political dialogue with Belarus since 2016, it has had very little influence over the human rights situation in the country. The EU’s impact has been limited not just because of the very nature of the Belarusian regime. EU institutions and member states have increasingly prioritised geopolitical interests as well as the stability and resilience of Belarus over human rights concerns. The EU should increase efforts to mainstream human rights in all aspects of its relations with Belarus and find a better balance between ‘normalisation’ and ‘conditionality’ based policy approaches vis-à-vis the country.


'Choose a Side or Choose our Country?': The Influence of Identity Politics on Democratization and International Relations Decision-making in the South Caucasus

Tiffany Williams
University of Vienna

This paper analyzes recent evolutions in the separate agreements between each of the three countries in the South Caucasus and the European Union (EU), and addresses how the differences in these developments connect with each country’s unique national identity. Beyond these countries’ self-interests, competing hegemonies also influence and complicate the EU’s foreign relations in the region. In addition to the historical connections to other competing powers, the related cultural discourse claims strong connections to the South Caucasus as well. This paper addresses these issues, and assesses how the EU’s response has been to grapple with adapting its behavior without sacrificing its core normative positions in order to maintain its influence in the region. The objective of this research is to better understand how identity politics impact the EU’s capacity to manage democratization and influence state-(re)building in

post-Soviet countries. The analysis employs process tracing applications that link relevant discourse to observed actions and outcomes in order to build a connected system demonstrating sequenced patterns of activity that inform how the interacting identity politics in the region drive both domestic sociopolitical transitions and EU decision-making. The findings demonstrate that even where a strong self-interest for the EU seems to be lacking, it has been resolute in

developing its own hegemony in the South Caucasus, while each country in the region continues to put its own interests first, albeit taking strikingly different paths.

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