The fifth Eastern Partnership summit will take place in Brussels on 24 November. This programme is perceived differently today by Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova.
On 19 November, the EU Council acknowledged that Moldova has completed the first phase of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP), and agreed that it can move onto the second phase. Fulfilling the VLAP should lead to the abolition of Schengen visas. The Action Plan consists of two phases: preparation (drawing up reforms and legislative changes) and implementation (of the planned reforms).
Over the past few months, Stefan Fule, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, has expressed a positive approach in his statements to offering prospective EU membership to the countries located in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood. On 22 October, during the EU-Moldova Forum, he admitted that Chisinau deserved to be granted such prospective membership, and made a reference to article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, which affords any European country which respects European values the possibility of becoming an EU member state.
The countries of Eastern European and China have been increasingly interested in deepening bilateral contacts over the past few years. In the case of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova this has been caused by the bad economic situation which was in part caused by the consequences of the global economic crisis of 2008 and the desire to establish closer political relations with a country whose significance on the international arena is continually growing. Each of these countries has different expectations regarding the scale and the nature of co-operation with China.
When Moldova and Ukraine joined the Energy Community in May 2010 and February 2011 respectively, they committed themselves to adopting and implementing a series of European Union directives relating to gas, electricity, renewable energy and environmental protection. Although the deadline for implementing most of these measures has passed (at the end of 2010 in the case of Moldova, and this January for Ukraine), it is Chisinau which has made some progress, mainly in the electricity sector, whereas Kyiv has failed to meet fully a single one of its obligations.