The EU and Eastern Partnership countries: An Inside-out Analysis and Strategic Assessment (EU-STRAT)

Client: European Commission, 2016/05 – 2019/04

The main goal of this international research was to study the relationship between the European Union and the countries in the European Eastern Neighborhood, to investigate under what conditions the EU’s strategies and instruments for its Eastern neighbours can be more effective. The main ambition of EU-STRAT was to provide an inside-out analysis and strategic assessment of the links between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.

EU-STRAT addressed two main questions. First, why has the EU fallen short of creating peace, prosperity and stability in its Eastern neighbourhood? And second, what can be done to strengthen the EU’s transformative power in supporting political and economic change in the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries?

Adopting an inside-out perspective on the challenges of transformation the EaP countries and the EU face, EU-STRAT:

• Developed a conceptual framework for the varieties of social orders in EaP countries to explain the propensity of domestic actors to engage in change;

• Investigated how bilateral, regional and global interdependencies shape the scope of action and the preferences of domestic actors in the EaP countries;

• De-centred the EU by studying the role of selected member states and other external actors active in the region;

• Evaluated the effectiveness of the Association Agreements and alternative EU instruments, including scientific cooperation, in supporting change in the EaP countries;

• Analysed normative discourses used by the EU and Russia to enhance their influence over the shared neighbourhood;

• Formulated policy recommendations to strengthen the EU’s capacity to support change in the EaP countries by advancing different scenarios for developmental pathways.

The project, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, was implemented by ESTEP together with 10 partners – European academic and research institutions, including the Free University of Berlin, Leiden University, University of Birmingham, Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science, as well as Ukraine, Moldovan and Belarusian institutes and non-governmental organizations working in the field of European integration. The project was coordinated by the Free University of Berlin. More about the project –