* Successful reforming is the key to security of Central and Eastern Europe
The above-mentioned does not imply that the interviewed experts underestimated the security potential of NATO and EU membership prospects. Quite the opposite – membership in NATO and the EU were chosen as the best security options for the EaP countries by 76% and 52% experts respectively.
But it is clear that these options are not on the table yet. Only 13% of the surveyed experts considered as it high probability for Ukraine to be granted the NATO aspirant country status in the near future, while 52% chose the option “low probability,” and 35% believed that Ukraine will not become NATO aspirant country in the near future.
The positive signal was that none of the experts chose the options “Ukraine will never become NATO aspirant country” and “Ukraine does not need membership in NATO.”
What is Ukraine’s perspective to be granted with the status of NATO aspirant country in the near future? (Only one option)
Among the other options that would most likely enhance security of the EaP countries, a combined 40% of the experts pointed to establishing new regional security formats without involvement of Russia and 39% chose the status of US Major Non-NATO Ally.
15% of the interviewed experts believed in neutrality with international security guarantees and 5% put hopes on non-alignment.
Nobody selected the formats with participation of Russia as a possible security option.
It is remarkable that the relative majority of surveyed experts (47%) considered that participation in the EU Eastern Partnership policy strengthened security of the countries of the region.
Another 31% believed it strengthened in one way and weakened in other way; 23% said it did not affect security of the region; and no expert chose the option of weakening/rather weakening security.
Given that so far the EU did not pay much attention to security co-operation within its Eastern Partnership policy, the experts’ assessments indicate the unrealised security potential of the EaP format.
Is participation in the EU Eastern Partnership policy strengthening or weakening security of the countries of the region? (Only one option)
- Lastly, it should be noted that external assistance especially from the EU and NATO is of indisputable importance for strengthening security of the Eastern Partnership region, but the main job is to be done by the EaP countries themselves.
- The ability to confront the current security challenges strongly depends on these countries’ willingness to effectively implement reforms, including anti-corruption, political and economic ones, not only in the security and defence sector.
The expert survey was conducted by the East European Security Research Initiative Foundation in December 2017. The questionnaire method was applied to interview 62 experts from six Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine), and from five Central and East European countries (Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia).
The aggregate percentages of responses on some questions may differ from 100% for the following reasons: some questions allowed up to three response options at a time; for simplicity the value of all calculated percentage data was presented as integers. A detailed report with the survey findings can be found here: https://goo.gl/tcTXSj.
Maksym Khylko is Chairman at the East European Security Research Initiative Foundation and Senior Research Fellow at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.
Oleksandr Tytarchuk is a Member of the Board at the East European Security Research Initiative Foundation and a representative to the OSCE Network of Academic Institutions and Think Tanks.
* The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: neweasterneurope.eu
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