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The Clarion Brief

Supported by:

HOW DOES EUROPE KNOW?


The Imperfect European Expertise on the Eastern
Neighborhood

by

Diana Potjomkina
Latvian Institute of International Affairs / Rga Stradi University

October 2016

About the Research


The research has been carried out by Diana Potjomkina for The Clarion, with the financial
support of the Black Sea Trust of the German Marshall Fund.

About the Organisation


The Clarion Brief is a part of the experimental media and research platform The Clarion
(www.theclarion.eu), where we look for ways to empower and engage Georgia in an
ongoing discussion about Europe. The Clarion is powered by Civil Georgia (www.Civil.ge) a
source of reference on Georgias current affairs since 2001.
The United Nations Association of Georgia (UNAG - www.una.ge) is the institutional parent
for these media initiatives. A veteran of Georgias non-governmental scene, UNAG works
since 1995 to engage youth, protect the rights of the vulnerable, inform the public about the
world and strengthen countrys institutions.

Dolidze str. 2, Tbilisi 0183, Georgia


Tel.: +995 32 332 516
clarion@una.ge
http://www.theclarion.eu/

Executive summary
This paper sets out to problematize the notion

the

of expertise in European Unions external

mechanisms for dialogue with more sceptical

relations, taking the Eastern Partnership as an

interlocutors. It is plagued by internal

example, and to offer some recommendations

complexity that hampers coherent external

on improving the EUs capacities and policies.

action and demands resources that could have

Expertise is a powerful tool, especially as the

been

chief source of legitimation in democratic

Administrative and technical rules for non-

politics, but the sources of political knowledge

governmental organizations participation and

are often overlooked and under-researched.

expertise procurement tenders tend to be too

I argue that we should pay more attention to


this issue to explain shortcomings of the EUs
policy in the region. This question is also

converted

spent

but

on

has

additional

insufficient

training.

burdensome for smaller organizations that do


not employ fundraising and management
professionals.

warranted by the new European Global

Finally, the EU needs more permanent, result-

Strategy, promising to underpin EUs external

oriented

action by a strong knowledge base.1

dialogue among all actors engaged in the EaP

The Eastern Partnership, an initiative launched


in 2009, is a logical continuation of earlier EUs
attempts to promote democracy and liberal
economy

in

its

neighbourhood.

While

generally beneficial, this orthodox thinking has

EUs

capacities;

while

for

Recommendations:

Strengthen EUs own expertise on the


Eastern Partnership, in collaboration with
CEE Member States and EaP countries;

Promote broader academic and students


exchanges, supporting fieldwork in the

partners, the EUs own expertise on the region

EaP;

has arguably remained underdeveloped.

The new Member States fill in this gap only

instruments

expertise.

expecting

unidirectional adjustment to EU norms from its

inclusive

policy if it wants to receive high-quality

been a long-standing issue from the standpoint


of

and

Support unorthodox, critical thinking on


the EaP as well as other directions of the

to a certain extent. The EU often preaches to

Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger


Europe. A Global Strategy for the European Unions
Foreign and Security Policy, June 2016,

https://eeas.europa.eu/top_stories/pdf/eugs_review_
web.pdf

EUs foreign policy through innovations

grants or similar mechanisms;

not undermine EU diplomats ability to

Proactively engage experts with different,

engage with partner countries;

including Eurosceptic, positions;

Develop more permanent, result-oriented

Increase support for participation of EU

and

experts in joint initiatives with the EaP

consultations among all actors engaged in

members, such as the EaP Civil Society

the EaP policy.

Forum;

Ensure that lack of internal cohesion does

Increase

flexibility

and

decrease

administrative burden for grants that


support non-governmental players and
tenders for procurement of external
expertise;

inclusive

mechanisms

for

Introduction
This paper sets out to problematize the notion

ignore

of expertise in European Unions external

implications of its experts work.

relations, taking the Eastern Partnership as an


example, and to offer some recommendations
on improving the EUs capacities and policies.

the

political

underpinnings

and

Subsequently, deeper sources of policy


mistakes remain hidden. If we want to
understand how we know what we know and

Expertise is a powerful tool; while power

how we can learn what we dont know we

sometimes wins over knowledge, as in majority

need a more critical, sensitive approach to our

vote, legitimation is still important (especially

own political knowledge.

in democratic societies). Thus, power is also


exercised through knowledge, when the truth
is fiercely contested.
This principle is well known to policy-makers
who often invest substantial amounts in
expertise that can take on a political flavour
(American think tanks as a particularly bright
example), or even in propaganda distorting the
facts (as in Russian state media).

Seeing

the

insensitivities

numerous
in

the

blunders

European

and

Unions

approach to its Eastern Partners inspired me to


look for the reasons.
While it is too far-reaching to call the Eastern
Partnership (EaP) a failure, many things could
have been done differently, even with the
limited means that the EU dedicates to the
purpose. Some of these mistakes have political

Being considered an expert gives distinct clout

roots not all EU members are interested in

even to less politically influential players. At

the EaP and willing to invest time, effort and

the same time, contestation of knowledge is

resources in the region. Those that are

often overlooked and underresearched.

interested,

Researchers tend to look at expertise as


progressive accrual of facts and testing

sometimes

have

national

objectives in mind that may run contrary to the


spirit of the EaP.

hypotheses in order to find the only correct

However, we can also level criticism at the pro-

solution 2 ; mass media rarely ask politicians

EaP camp and the EU institutions that stand

where do you know it from; and the EU itself,

behind the policy. I argue that in this case,

as I will describe below, frequently seems to

shortcomings

Positivist approach to social sciences.

are

caused

by

wrong

assumptions and lack of due diligence rather

relevant to understanding EUs expertise on

than by ill will.

Eastern Neighbours or lack thereof.

To provide high-quality policies, they should

This report is inevitably limited by lack of

become less arrogant in their assumptions

previous research on the matter, but I draw on

about the EaP and thus engage in more

available

meaningful consultation with a diverse range

(implicit here), and my own observations from

of experts including NGOs. In particular,

practical experience as a civil society activist

NGOs should also be considered as expertise

and think tank researcher engaging with the

providers rather than merely legitimizers of

EaP and its expert community.

policies developed in Brussels.


I proceed with offering some background
information and indicating the main points

literature,

theoretical

insights

Background: Eastern Partnership and the EUs


imperfect expertise
The Eastern Partnership, an initiative launched

freedoms which constitute the very basis of

in 2009, has deeper roots in the EUs relations

the partnership.3

with the post-Soviet space after the Cold War.

Ever since the PCAs and up to the year 2015,

The general mood of the Fukuyaman end of

when the last review of the European

history and certain ex-communist republics

Neighbourhood Policy (of which the EaP is a

ardour about returning to Europe propelled

part) was initiated, the EU adhered to the

the EU into thinking that all members of the

notorious principle of more for more the

Soviet bloc will, or at least can, undertake

states that progress most on liberal reforms

transitions to democracy and liberal economy.

will receive greatest support from the EU.

In mid-1990s the EU was itself freshly

What this notion implied was an expectation of

established as a political alliance with weak

unilateral, uni-directional adaptation on the

foreign policy mandate. It was evidently not

partners side: normalcy meant adopting EU

ready to invest heavily in the more faraway

standards,

countries. Yet it still concluded Partnership and

contemplate the process and possibly

Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) with all

reward the reformers.

current EaP members except for Belarus (the


ratification of the PCA was suspended), as well
as with Russia and four out of five Central Asian
states.

while

the

EU

itself

could

The new Member States, joining in the 2004


enlargement, brought the spotlight on the
farther neighbourhood, and so the EU formally
launched the European Neighbourhood Policy

All five PCAs with the Eastern Partners are

(ENP) over 2003-2004. However, while the

broadly similar in content. They hail the

new

common values that the signatories share

understanding

of

and

circumstances,

they

express

the

commitment

to

strengthening the political and economic

members

were

generally

specific
were

more

partners

arguably

too

inexperienced in EUs policy-making and too

As an example, see Partnership and Cooperation Agreement [Establishing a partnership between the
European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part], 22 April
1996, http://www.mfa.gov.ge. More details: Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs): Russia, Eastern
Europe, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia, EUR-Lex, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV%3Ar17002
3

eager to leave a good impression on the old

I deal with the review process in detail in other

members to effectively object the established

papers 7 ; here, it suffices to say that the EU

policy and practice.

moves away from seeing itself as a beacon8

Russian-Georgian war of 2008 gave impetus to

of liberal norms towards more pragmatic

the creation of the Eastern Partnership more

strategizing,

narrowly focussed on the frontier with Russia

differentiation aimed at maintaining its

but this brought no fundamental changes in

influence in the Neighbourhood. Accordingly,

the underlying principles of the EU policy.

the EU is also starting to understand its own

contextual

awareness

and

shortcomings. The EGS concedes that:


The Russian invasion into Ukraine in 2014,
however, jolted the EU to reconsider its

Responsive

external

action

must

be

approach to the closest neighbours. In

underpinned by a strong knowledge base. To

November 2015, the European Commission

make the most of this, we will invest in people,

and the High Representative presented the

particularly those on the ground. This means

ENP review4 that was subsequently endorsed

equipping our delegations with the necessary

through the Council Conclusions. 5 The new

expertise, including on sectoral issues and in


local languages, valuing experience in and of a

principles made their way into the Riga EaP

region, beefing up the political sections of

Summit Declaration. They are also indirectly

delegations, and encouraging operational staff

reflected in the 2016 European Global Strategy

to use their expertise more politically. We will

(EGS).6

also pursue greater information sharing and

European Commission, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Joint
Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and
the Committee of the Regions: Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, {SWD(2015) 500 final},
Brussels, 18.11.2015, JOIN(2015) 50 final, https://eeas.europa.eu/enp/documents/2015/151118_jointcommunication_review-of-the-enp_en.pdf
Council of the EU, Council Conclusions on the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, December
14, 2015, press release 926/15, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/12/14-conclusionseuropean-neighbourhood/
6
Joint Declaration of the Eastern Partnership Summit (Riga, 21-22 May 2015),
http://eeas.europa.eu/eastern/docs/riga-declaration-220515-final_en.pdf
7
Dina Potjomkina, A More Geopolitical Eastern Partnership: U-Turn or The Ladys Not For Turning?
(Riga: Latvian Institute of International Affairs, 2015), http://liia.lv/en/publications/a-more-geopolitical-easternpartnership-u-turn-or-the-ladys-not-for-turning-477; Dina Potjomkina, Eastern Partnership and European
Global Strategy in Coping with Complexity in the Euro-Atlantic Community and Beyond: Rga Conference
Papers 2016, eds Andris Sprds, Dina Potjomkina (Riga: Latvian Institute of International Affairs, 2016),
http://liia.lv/en/publications/coping-with-complexity-in-the-euro-atlantic-community-and-beyond-rigaconference-papers-2016-551
8
Term borrowed from David J. Galbreath and Jeremy W. Lamoreaux, Bastion, Beacon or Bridge?
Conceptualising the Baltic Logic of the EU's Neighbourhood, Geopolitics Vol. 12, Iss. 1 (2007).
5

joint reporting, analysis and response planning

and through innovative formats such as

between

EU

exchanges, embedded personnel and joint

Delegations, Commission services, EU Special

facilities, harnessing knowledge and creativity

Representatives and CSDP missions. We will

in our system.9

Member

State

embassies,

encourage cross-fertilisation between us and

Let us take a closer look at some of these and

regional and international organisations, civil

other related issues.

society, academia, think tanks and the private


sector. We will do so both in traditional ways
through dialogue, cooperation and support

Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe. A Global Strategy for the European Unions Foreign and
Security Policy.
9

EUs Eastern expertise: a multi-level problem


The European Unions foreign policy-making is

enlargement countries, and so, arguably, more

complex, a balancing act among the Member

attention has mainly been paid to educating

States, the European External Action Service

partner countries into EU ways than to

and

with

developing EUs own expertise on the region. A

contributions and interventions from other EU

brief search on Google easily returns a number

bodies, partner states governments, as well as

of scholarships and training opportunities for

national, pan-European and third countries

Eastern Partnership representatives helping

think tanks, NGOs and lobbies. Furthermore, it

them to learn about the EU, its institutions and

takes place against the general background of

policies 10 ; one is hard pressed, however, to

media reports and public opinion which have

find

lately been predominantly critical. Expertise is

Partners languages and cultures in the

scattered among these different players and

European Union. 11 The EU does have good

settings, and the problems are observable both

experts on the EaP, on the societal level and in

at the systemic level and at the level of

the institutions, but many of them suffer from

individual players.

insufficient or inefficient support. The EU

Issue 1: EUs unwillingness to move beyond

institutions evidently face challenges hiring

orthodox thinking. As mentioned already, it

diplomats with appropriate language skills or

took the EU almost two decades to reconsider

training them accordingly,12 exemplified most

its one-size-fits-all approach to the Eastern

tellingly by the fact that that even the previous

partners, despite its glaring shortfalls. The EU

EU ambassador to Russia did not speak

did not consider changing its model that had

Russian. In general, the EU has long suffocated

already succeeded with the big bang

in its own orthodoxy; as Rosa Balfour wrote

the

European

Commission

opportunities

for

learning

Eastern

See, for example, KAS Eastern Partnership School of Excellency, Call for applications. A programme for
young leaders from politics, law, civil society, media, economy and science from the countries of the Eastern
Partnership and Russia, http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_20062-1442-1-30.pdf?160826154832, or the Latvian
initiative, Advanced Programme aimed at public officials, as well as representatives of civil society and
academia from the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries, Central Asia and Western Balkans, Riga
Graduate School of Law, http://www.rgsl.edu.lv/en/study-at-rgsl/advanced-programme/overview/
10

11

I could identify the Caucasus Studies branch at the Malm University,


https://www.mah.se/caucasusstudies/courses, as well as the Georgian Programme at the University of Oxford,
http://www.rees.ox.ac.uk/georgian-programme, and a possibility to study Ukraininan within the framework of
Ukrainian and East European Studies BA at the University College London, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospectivestudents/undergraduate/degrees/ukrainian-east-european-studies-ba/
12
See Simon Duke, Diplomatic Training in the European Union in The European External Action Service:
European Diplomacy Post-Westphalia, eds. David Spence and Jozef Btora (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

shortly before the ENP review, in 2014, after

than intention. Eastern Partnership Civil

ten years in which much ink has been spilt on

Society Forum (EaP CSF) can serve as an

dissecting the ENP, the terms of the debate

example. This platform for interaction among

have hardly changed. The many analyses of the

EU and EaP civil societies, first launched in

intellectual,

2009 and lauded as a major democratic

political,

institutional

and

instrumental weaknesses of the ENP have not

achievement,

produced much by way of new ideas. The state

EU/European Neighbourhood Policy/Eastern

of the debate stridently contrasts with the

Partnership as one of the three criteria for

emerging disorder 13 In relations with the

taking part in its Annual Assemblies 14 from

EaP, the EU is a bigger and more influential

which we can conclude that institutions

actor, but learning must be mutual if it wants

supporting the current EU goals are more

to strive for more than the lowest common

welcome. EaP CSF also suffers from other

denominator in the partnership.

structural deficits, in particular, lack of

in

participants generally endorse EU norms and

While encouraging democracy and pluralism,

values can be attributed not only to

the EU itself seems to prefer pro-European

socialization as Kostanyan and Vandecasteele

interlocutors, thus often preaching to the

argue,

converted. There are few if any mechanisms

16

but also to selection procedures

preferring to admit Euro-optimists. We could,

and platforms for engaging with dissenters and


and too many

experience

transparency.15 In other words, the fact that its

Issue 2: Creating own civil society partners?

discontents,

puts

in fact, go even further and ask whether the

European

EU, with its funding for democracy promotion,

conferences seem to take the European

is unconsciously helping to create or bring

orthodoxy uncritically. This is hardly a

forward a layer of professional or artificial

conscious policy, but effect is more important

NGOs subsisting on European resources but

Rosa Balfour, Not the European Neighbourhood Policy. Some Iconoclastic Tips to Start Rethinking the EUs
Relations with Its Neighbours, December 12, 2014, European Policy Centre,
http://www.epc.eu/pub_details.php?pub_id=5101&cat_id=4
14
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Your Participation, http://eap-csf.eu/en/about-eap-csf/how-toparticipate/
15
Irene Hahn-Fuhr and Marie-Lena May, The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum: An Important Tool
with Ambivalent Interim Results, DGAP Standpunkt, No. 4, December 2012,
https://dgap.org/en/article/getFullPDF/23083; see also Lucia Najlov, The EU in the Wider Black Sea Region:
Clumsy but Attractive? in The Black Sea Region and EU Policy: The Challenge of Divergent Agendas, eds.
Carol Weaver and Karen Henderson (Routledge, November 2010) [Ashgate e-book], 37-9.
16
Hrant Kostanyan and Bruno Vandecasteele, The Socialization Potential of the Eastern Partnership Civil
Society Forum, Eastern Journal of European Studies Vol. 4, Iss. 2 (2013),
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271643049_The_socialization_potential_of_the_Eastern_Partnership_
Civil_Society_Forum
13

11

not engaged on the grassroots level (without

the EEAS and the Commission DGs as well as

any prejudice to the need for EU aid to support

grey areas where the responsibilities are not

the reformers). 17 While some organizations

clear

struggle to find basic funding, others have

Moreover, Member States still want to retain

been criticized for engaging in activism at a

control over the EUs foreign policy and do so

five-star hotel.18

through the Council where different positions

complicated

the

relationship).

19

have to be reconciled (there are opponents of


Issue 3: EUs institutional challenges. EUs
foreign policy is plagued by

the EaP as well as sceptics), and one Members

excessive

veto is a possibility. 20 As tefan Fle, Former

complexity, the result of a fragile political

European Commissioner for Enlargement and

compromise between the imperative for pan-

European

European foreign policy, Member States

later

agreement which was ready [..] on the table for

sovereignty, and turf wars among different

two years, we had an important task to find a

institutions problem demonstrated in great

consensus among ourselves. What it meant

detail by Hrant Kostanyan in his 2015 paper.

[was] that we did not have really time for

According to him, one of the key problems is

addressing substance and preparing for the

frequent inability of the European External

implementation

Action Service to find agreement with the


(Disagreements

Policy,

admitted, So [speaking about] the association

unwillingness to let go of the portions of their

Commission

Neighborhood

of

the

association

agreement.21 And even leaving aside the turf

concerning

battles and political disagreements, the EUs

which body should lead on specific policy

decision-making is impeded by its complex

issues, the incompatibility of goals between

For theoretic underpinning of this argument see e.g. Martha Finnemore, Dynamics of Global Governance:
Building on What We Know, International Studies Quarterly No. 58 (2014).
18
For instance, the 8th Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum takes place at the five-star
Steigenberger Wiltcher Hotel in Brussels. For the term, coined by Tunisian activist Amira Yahyaoui, see Ilya
Lozovsky, A Wake-Up Call for NGOs, Foreign Policy, June 5, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/05/awake-up-call-for-ngos-tunisia-arab-spring-oslo-freedom-forum/
19
Hrant Kostanyan, Turf Wars and Control Issues in EU Eastern Policies: Opening the Black Box of the EU
Institutions and the Member States in Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The Future of the EUs Eastern
Partnership, ed. Adam Hug (London: The Foreign Policy Centre, 2015), https://www.ceps.eu/publications/turfwars-and-control-issues-eu-eastern-policies-opening-%E2%80%98black-box%E2%80%99-eu-institutions For a
more hopeful view on Federica Mogherinis approach, see Elbieta Kaca, Is the Eastern Partnership
Weakening? The Consequences of the EU Institutions Power Shift to Neighbourhood Policy, PISM Bulletin,
November 25, 2014, https://www.pism.pl/publications/bulletin/no-133-728
20
Hrant Kostanyan, Turf Wars and Control Issues in EU Eastern Policies
21
Atlantic Council, Toward a Transatlantic Strategy for Europes East: The Way Forward for the Eastern
Partnership and Conclusion, February 9, 2015, http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/news/transcripts/transcript-theway-forward-for-the-eastern-partnership-and-conclusion
17

12

procedures and timetables.22 It comes as no

prevailing liberal triumph orthodoxy of

surprise then that the primary task for the

course, with notable exceptions. The Central

newly established European External Action

and Eastern European (CEE, or new)

Service was, in the words of former European

members are enthusiastic contributors to the

Commissioner and then Italys foreign minister

EaP and often boast special expertise

Franco Frattini, teaching staff how to

concerning the neighbours. It is true that the

understand the changing world from a

new member states have valuable transition

collective perspective; learning how the new

experience that has sensitized them to partner

system works; and urging diplomats to learn

countries problems. They have extensive

about the culture and working methods of

knowledge of local socio-political realities and

their colleagues. 23 The focus was on finding

have been invaluable in keeping the EaP high

agreement within the EU before actually going

on the EU agenda.24 However, these countries

outside.

capabilities should not be overestimated: their


expertise on EaP is their relative advantage,

Issue 4: Problematic expertise of the member


States.

While

Member

States

the area of EU policy where they can profile

remain

themselves with relation to old Member

influential in EU foreign policy, their expertise

States, 25 and not necessarily an achievement

matters, and so we must pay attention to the

in absolute terms. (See also Tsveta Petrova on

challenge of national capacities. The Western

partially repeating the work of Western

European or old Member States do have


prominent

experts

on

the

donors.

Eastern

26

) Their resources for developing

expertise are still rather limited, and what they

neighbourhood who often set the tone for the


entire EU, but their governments are relatively
less interested in the policy, and their experts
also seem to be rather prone to profess the

Thomas de Waal and Richard Youngs, Reform as Resilience: An Agenda for the Eastern Partnership, May
14, 2015, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/05/14/reform-asresilience-agenda-for-eastern-partnership-pub-60086
23
Franco Frattini, The European External Action Service: A Look into EU Diplomat Training, European
View No. 9 (2010).
24
Tsveta Petrova, The New Role of Central and Eastern Europe in International Democracy Support,
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 2011,
http://carnegieendowment.org/files/east_eur_democracy.pdf
25
See Vahur Made, Shining in Brussels? The Eastern Partnership in Estonias Foreign Policy, Perspectives
Vol. 19, No. 2 (2011). Also e.g. Mat Mik, Eastern Partnership and the Preferences of New EU Member
States, Polish Political Science Review. Polski Przegld Politologiczny, Vol. 1, Iss. 1 (2013).
26
Tsveta Petrova, The New Role of Central and Eastern Europe in International Democracy Support,
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 2011.
22

13

need first is better systematization of the

providing

available experience and knowledge.27

Parliament on EU enlargement, eastern

years, 2013-2017

and expertise on the region is impeded in

of

any

kind

problem

indirect

should

project

size

and

1.5 per Member State) receive EU funding to


attend the EaP CSF Annual Assembly this year,
in contrast to 20 paid slots per EaP country.30

in-kind

contributions); national lobbying leading to


distorted

outcomes,

Cross-cutting issue: insufficient mechanisms

Heavy

for dialogue. While the EU as a whole strives to

administrative burden and high average grant

reduce its democratic deficit, its mechanisms

amounts

be

for dialogue on foreign policy issues with third

grassroots

parties, especially non-governmental experts,

organizations require expertise in fundraising

are poorly structured and underdeveloped.

and management more than in substantial

The EaP policy could also use additional

issues. (For instance, a recent tender for

support for cooperation and networking,

that

administered

etc.

28

EU

instance, only 40 EU organizations (less than

same projects; requirements for co-financing


of

and

position than their EaP counterparts for

and/or taxation of experts working on the

acceptance

EaP

shortage, are sometimes put in even worse

technical

rules, including differences in remuneration

with

both

many of whom also face permanent resource

requirements; discrimination in administrative

(problems

affects

organizations. Additionally, EU organizations,

be

eliminated, including excessively restrictive


eligibility;

: geographically and

EaP or the EU. A large consortium won.) This

concluded that in EU-sponsored development

discrimination

29

small to mid-size organizations from either the

the European Economic and Social Committee

and

European

administratively, it was quite beyond reach of

practice by overly limiting technical rules. As

direct

the

amounted to 380 000 EUR and spanned four

Development of EUs relations with the EaP

Persistent

to

Neighbourhood, Russia and central Asia

Issue 5: Ill-adapted format of assistance.

projects

expertise

cannot
by

reasonably

smaller

European Economic and Social Committee (rapporteur Andris Gobi), Opinion on Sustainable change in
transition societies, REX/387, Brussels, 16 October 2013,
https://webapi.eesc.europa.eu/documentsanonymous/ces4534-2013_00_00_tra_ac_en.doc
28
European Economic and Social Committee (rapporteur Andris Gobi), Opinion on Sustainable change in
transition societies, REX/387, Brussels, 16 October 2013,
https://webapi.eesc.europa.eu/documentsanonymous/ces4534-2013_00_00_tra_ac_en.doc
29
B-Brussels: Research networks to provide foreign policy expertise, 2013/S 066-109690, Contract notice:
Services. OJ/S S66, 04/04/2013, 109690-2013-EN,
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/tenders/2013/20130404/contract_notice-en.pdf
30
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, Applications Now Open for the 8th EaP CSF Annual Assembly,
http://eap-csf.eu/en/news-events/news/applications-now-open-for-the-8th-eap-csf-annual-assembly/
27

14

starting from students, proceeding to diverse


civil society actors and think tank experts.
These issues have been recognized by the EU
itself in the EGS (see quote above).

15

Conclusions and recommendations


As can be seen from the analysis above, closer

programmes where appropriate; CEE Member

interaction among the EU institutions, EaP

States or EaP countries might be appropriate

governments and non-governmental players

partners in these endeavours;

from both sides is hampered by the multiple


administrative,

political

and

ideational

Promote broader academic and students


exchanges, supporting fieldwork in the EaP;

obstacles.
Support unorthodox, critical thinking on the
The EU has a long-standing preference for
unilateral promotion of expertise: from the EU
to

Eastern

Partners,

expecting

their

EaP as well as other directions of the EUs


foreign policy through innovations grants or
similar mechanisms;

adjustment while ignoring the need for doing


its own homework. Its consultation policies

Proactively engage experts with different,

frequently seem to give implicit preferences to

including

pro-European experts.

support to the main proponents of EU norms

Eurosceptic,

positions.

While

and values is vital, it should not come to


EUs highly convoluted structure of decisionmaking on foreign policy means that before
reaching out to third parties, it has to come to
terms with all the players engaged internally,
including with its own diplomatic corps.

appropriate

technical

expertise

of

hearing

more

sceptical,

marginalized voices. Exclusion of critics at the


initial stages of integration can radicalize them
further and endanger the project in the longer
term;

Excessive administrative limitations, and lack


of

detriment

and

capacities, are a barrier for many potential

Increase support for participation of EU


experts in joint initiatives with the EaP
members, such as the EaP Civil Society Forum;

partners, both within the EU and coming from


the partner countries.

Increase

flexibility

and

decrease

administrative burden for grants that support


While these structural issues might take longer
time to overcome, the EU could address some

non-governmental players and tenders for


procurement of external expertise;

shortfalls in the following directions:


Ensure that lack of internal cohesion does not
Strengthen its own expertise on the Eastern
Partnership, including language and cultural
studies for the EU diplomats and experts that
can also take form of broader regional studies

undermine EU diplomats ability to engage


with partner countries. While working on
common operational culture within the EU is
important, there is the need to inculcate the

Service [EEAS] with a training mind-set. Only

with the view to overcome the democratic

just over half of the training days available to

deficit also in this arena. It is not enough to

the EEAS officials are currently taken up31;

bring all parties together; we also need


impartial mediators to facilitate the dialogue,

Develop more permanent, result-oriented

and while institutionalization of the process is

and inclusive mechanisms for consultations

not always a good answer (making it top-

among all actors engaged in the EaP policy,

heavy), we need a solution to fulfil this role.

31

Simon Duke, Diplomatic Training in the European Union.

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