Europeanization in Eastern Partnership countries: the “Associated Trio” and trade opportunities



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Tartu Ülikool


Recent developments in Eastern Europe have been of great interest to international institutions and academia. The present study analyzes Europeanization and its influence on Eastern Neighborhood countries, main approaches towards European Integration, achievements, outcomes and perspectives. Research focuses on trade relations targeting three countries of the neighborhood: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Selection of these cases is determined by their higher dedication and aspirations towards European integration, highlighted in countries' political agendas and expressed in their individual applications for the EU membership. Economic integration is one of the key parts of this ambitious agenda that is accelerated through the Association Agreement and DCFTA as the most advanced agreement ever negotiated by the EU in relation with its partners. The crises in the neighborhood have once again highlighted the need to strengthen trade relations in order to diversify trading partners and achieve economic independence. In order to study the process of integration the research suggests to go back to the theory of Europeanization which explains soft power diffusion from the EU to its surroundings as well as the countries' intentions and final outcomes. Any level of reform progress should be positively assessed and recognized from the EU in order to be counted as successful and have positive outcomes in terms of economic integration. Therefore, research is interested in examining possible correlation between the regional cooperation and countries’ individual achievements towards European integration and the influence of trilateral cooperation on the attitude of the European Union towards three eastern neighborhood countries. Amid three countries’ individual applications submitted for the EU membership it is even more relevant and interesting to examine overall progress and achievements of the countries in terms of meeting eligibility criteria for the accession.