News / Europe

Europe Raises Stakes With Tour of Former Soviet States

Europe Raises Stakes With Tour of Former Soviet Statesi
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 14, 2014 9:40 PM
The President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy visited Georgia Wednesday - the latest stop on a tour of former Soviet states which aim to sign Association Agreements with the European Union. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, analysts say the agreements are likely to cause further friction between Moscow and the West.
Henry Ridgwell
The President of the European Council Herman van Rompuy visited Georgia Wednesday - the latest stop on a tour of former Soviet states which aim to sign Association Agreements with the European Union. Analysts say the agreements are likely to cause further friction between Moscow and the West.

Herman van Rompuy met Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili Wednesday in Tbilisi - and pledged that the EU would sign an Association Agreement by the end of June, a first step on the road to EU membership.

“Georgia at this time is not so much under threat, but it can be the case as so we are here to support them to show that they are not alone, that the EU, the 28 Members States are with them and that we have a common future,” said van Rompuy.

In 2008 Russia and Georgia fought a war over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - which Moscow later recognized as independent.

Europe and the West fear Moscow is plotting a similar scenario in eastern Ukraine, where separatists held a referendum Sunday on independence. The result was overwhelmingly in favor of breaking away from Kyiv. Critics called the polls illegitimate.

Prior to his Tbilisi visit, van Rompuy was given a guard-of-honor welcome in Moldova Tuesday. The former Soviet-controlled state is due to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union on June 27.

It’s a sign the West is not stepping back, said Nicholas Redman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“The signing of those Association Agreements is the signal that the Europeans are taking this seriously, that they are not shrinking back, that they are prepared to contest with Russia for influence and primacy across the former Soviet space,” he said.

Moldova’s alliance with the EU is complicated by the pro-Russian breakaway region of Transdniestra, sandwiched between Moldova and Ukraine.

The region declared independence in 1990 - but has not been recognized by any other state. Over a thousand Russian troops are deployed on the territory.

Speaking in April, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Transdniestrans should not be forced to follow Moldova’s lead.

Putin said there is a large number of Russian citizens living in Transdniestria. People have their own understanding how they should build their future, their fate, he said. And that is nothing else but a manifestation of democracy if we allow to those people to do what they want.

The recent violence between pro-Russian and pro-Kyiv supporters in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa has focused attention on Russia’s links to Transdniestra, says Orysia Lutsevych of policy institute Chatham House.

“Because of the level of corruption we’ve seen in Ukraine, it [Odessa] was one of the hubs also for smuggling and trade for the territories including Transdniestra," said Lutsevych. "And we see some of the roots connecting through the southern corridor, from Transdniestra through Odessa to Russia.”

Through signing the Association Agreements next month with Georgia, Moldova and possibly Ukraine, Europe hopes to seal the former Soviet states within its orbit of influence. Analysts say Russia is unlikely to allow a smooth transition.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid