Relations between the EU and Belarus have returned to square one. A number of myths need to be debunked before the EU can define a better balance of policy instruments in the country.
The EU has failed to use either the European Neighbourhood Policy or the Eastern Partnership to leverage reform in Armenia. Armenia saw its inclusion in the Eastern Partnership as a path to gaining EU membership and a way of resolving ongoing problems with its neighbours. However the EU is neither actively involved in conflict resolution nor strongly committed to closer political integration with its Eastern partners.
It seems that only when external challenges are really serious do EU governments overcome their squabbles and unite. Now, the EU faces the tough challenge of how to respond to its relative decline and the rise of Asia in a ‘post-Western world. Will member states ‘convergence-in-adversity’?
This study by the European Think Tanks Group – FRIDE, DIE, ECDPM and ODI – offers an independent contribution to the European Union’s internal discussions on its future mechanisms for the complementary use of grants and loans (blending). It reviews the existing EU blending mechanisms, comparing their different governance arrangements, drawing lessons from each, and considers the pros and cons of possible future governance options for blending operations.
Democracy promotion has lost traction around the world. Critics point to inflexible policies, with narrow conceptions of political reform and call for a fundamental rethink of what type of ‘democracy’ should be supported in different regions. But current criticisms risk pushing policy deliberations in exactly the opposite direction to their required improvement.
The EU is a major donor and trading partner of Sri Lanka, but European pressure to promote human rights in the country has not worked. The EU must change its approach in South Asia in order to respond to changing regional power dynamics.