Wednesday 1 June 2005
May 27, 2005
EU: French 'Non' On EU Constitution Would Threaten Hopefuls' Membership Chances
There is little doubt in Brussels that the widely predicted French "no" to the new EU constitution on 29 May would mean at least a temporary halt to the enlargement process. Even Bulgaria and Romania -- which have both signed their accession treaties -- may still prove vulnerable. However, for more distant EU neighbors with no membership ambitions, the bloc's soul-searching may yet result in clearer policies.
May 18, 2005
Moldova: Chisinau, Tiraspol Welcome Ukrainian Plan, But Settlement Remains Far Off
Transdniestrian leadership's headquarters (file photo) A recently proposed plan for the resolution of the conflict between Moldova and its breakaway region of Transdniester was met with moderate optimism by both sides during a two-day meeting in Ukraine this week. The Ukrainian proposal raised hopes that negotiations to resolve the frozen conflict could be restarted. The plan provides for expanding the negotiations framework to include the European Union and the United States alongside Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). But doubts still persist about the separatists' commitment to the plan, which also envisages the initiation of a democratization process in Transdniester.
May 04, 2005
EU: Brussels Says No Point In Near Neighbors Seeking To Join Union Now
European Union External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner says there is no point in Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia seeking to start the process of joining the union, because they will not be accepted. Ferrero-Waldner called for realism, and said it is clear that a great amount of work is needed to prepare these countries for EU membership. But she foreshadowed closer relations with the near-neighbors, which would bring them some of the advantages of membership.
April 27, 2005
GUUAM: Ukraine Aspires To Leadership Role In Revitalized Organization
How much has GUUAM's face changed since this 2002 summit, which included (from left)Azerbaijan's Heidar Aliyev, Georgia's Eduard Shevardnadze, Ukraine's Leonid Kuchma, and Moldova's Vladimir Voronin? 27 April 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Following Viktor Yushchenko's election late last year as Ukrainian president and Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin's espousal of an unequivocally pro-Western foreign policy orientation, many observers anticipated that the long-awaited summit of the GUUAM alignment in Chisinau on 22 April would herald a new era in that body's activities.
April 23, 2005
World: OSCE Debates Its Election Monitoring
The OSCE -- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- has come under sharp criticism from Russia on the criteria it uses and conclusions it reaches in monitoring elections. Russia charges that the process is politically weighted. Leaders of the organization have just completed a two-day review in Vienna. Debate was lively but few minds appear to have been changed about the way the OSCE decides whether elections are fair and democratic.
April 22, 2005
East: GUUAM Summit In Chisinau Focuses On Separatism, Regional Cooperation
Ukraine's Yushchenko was active in Chisinau (file photo) The presidents of Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova gathered today in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau for a summit of the regional grouping GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova). It's the group's first gathering since "velvet revolutions" brought pro-Western leaders to office in Georgia and Ukraine, and Moldova shifted its foreign policy priorities toward the West. EU and NATO expansion have also altered the European political landscape. This evolving perspective laid the groundwork for today's gathering, which focused on separatism, regional cooperation, and promoting GUUAM's geopolitical profile.
April 21, 2005
East: GUUAM Summit Aims To Revitalize Regional Body
GUUAM -- the group comprising Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova -- was formed eight years ago with the aim of fostering regional cooperation outside the boundaries of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). But GUUAM's accomplishments were largely reduced to a series of signed agreements that never came to fruition. But now efforts are under way to revitalize the group. Leaders from four of the five member-states are gathering tomorrow in the Moldovan capital Chisinau in an attempt to breathe new life into a group that is increasingly turning away from Moscow and looking toward the West.
April 15, 2005
CIS: Weakest States Show Strong Growth But Experts Urge Expanded Reforms
CIS leaders at the Astana summit in September 2004 Reports issued by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) ahead of their spring meetings on 16-17 April show continued strong growth in some of the poorest states of the former Soviet Union. These economies were bolstered in part by high prices for oil, metals, and other commodities they possess. But experts at the World Bank and IMF stress that countries in the region must enact institutional reforms in order to sustain this growth.
April 12, 2005
Moldova: Turning Away From Moscow, Communists Look West For Support
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin (file photo) Over the past year, Moldova's Communists have kept their hold on power even as they shift focus away from Moscow and toward Brussels. That U-turn is seen as a sign that Moldova has grown weary of Moscow's still-unfulfilled promises of closer economic integration. The continued impasse over the breakaway Transdniester region has also been a source of discontent. But is Moldova truly committed to its new pro-Western stance? Analysts say it will take more than rhetoric for Moldova to prove it is ready to integrate with Europe.