This Birmingham seminar for the Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The future of the EU's Eastern Partnership project, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK and the University of Birmingham, took stock of recent developments in the EU's relationship with the countries in its eastern neighbourhood: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine.
The issue of the EU's role in the region and the influence of the Russian-led alternative the Eurasian Economic Union have been at the heart of a major geo-political upheaval. The decision by Ukraine's then President Yanukovych to reject Eastern Partnership under pressure from Russia in the summer of 2013 lit the spark for the dramatic subsequent events in, while Armenia's made a similar switch under Russian pressure ahead of the key November 2013 Vilnius summit.
- Rt Hon John Spellar MP, Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister (Labour)
- James Carver MEP, European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee (UKIP)
- Dr Kataryna Wolczuk, Reader in Politics and International Studies, Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies (CREES), University of Birmingham
- Dr Rilka Dragneva-Lewers, Senior Lecturer, University of Birmingham
- Dr Kevork Oskanian, Research Fellow, CREES, University of Birmingham
- Adam Hug, Policy Director, Foreign Policy Centre
The seminar looked at the key planks of the EU's approach to the region including the offers of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements, visa reform, funding for reform projects and political engagement. The seminar examined both the EU's objectives in the region and how Europe is perceived by the Eastern Partnership countries themselves, along with how the domestic political situation in EU member states (most notably the UK) and the Eastern Partners shapes the relationship.
The Foreign Policy Centre and the European Commission Representation in the UK with the University of Birmingham.