The recent events in Ukraine clearly reveal the weaknesses of the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood policy. Belarus remains a problematic partner for the EU and rejects the European way of transformation. Despite long-lasting economic problems and external vulnerability Belarus doesn’t use EaP opportunities for reforms. The price of democratization seems to be very high for Belarusian leadership to pay for deeper political and economic relations with the EU. This creates serious obstacles for applying the “more for more” principle as a real tool for change. EU policy towards Belarus needs new approaches and more effective instruments. Previous policy packages including the proposal of European Dialogue for Modernization failed to bring any tangible results. In addition, Russia’s neo-imperialistic policy undermines EU “soft power” and threatens overall stability in the EaP region. The establishment of Russia’s political control over the Ukraine will lead to further Russian expansion. For Belarus this will mean challenges to its state sovereignty.
Andrei Yahorau political analyst, director of the Center for European Transformation (Minsk, Belarus)