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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.