Armenia and Georgia challenge ‘Normative Power Europe’

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Armenia and Georgia challenge ‘Normative Power Europe’

Russia’s determination to maintain its influence over the former Soviet space intensified after several coloured revolutions demonstrated the elite’s and citizens’ allure to the EU’s value promotion. Consequently the Kremlin increased pressure on the countries’ respective governments to convince them to pursue integration with Russia instead of closer EU association. At first glance, these efforts seem to have paid off when Armenia’s President Sargsyan announced Yerevan’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in September 2013 whilst terminating further EU integration efforts. In contrast, Georgia’s conclusion of an Association Agreement with the EU displayed Tbilisi’s determination to follow a reform-oriented, pro-European trajectory. Georgia’s and Armenia’s divergent approaches to European integration between September 2013 and December 2015 demonstrate that the effect of Normative Power Europe (NPE) can be facilitated and constrained by several facets. This paper argues that Georgia’s and Armenia’s foreign policy orientation was shaped by three factors: First, domestic political developments in Armenia (presidential elections) and in Georgia (presidential and parliamentary elections) occasionally challenged the contextual dynamics of the EU’s ability to ensure the countries’ further integration into the acquis communautaire. Second, the divergent ‘normative appeal’ of the EU in Georgia and Armenia determined their foreign policy choices. Third, NPE in Georgia and Armenia is constrained by the Kremlin’s determination to keep these countries within its orbit.

Anna-Sophie Maass .

College of Europe

Anna-Sophie Maass is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the European Neighbourhood Policy Chair at the College of Europe’s Natolin campus. Prior to working at the College of Europe Natolin, she graduated with a PhD in EU-Russia relations from La Trobe University in Melbourne. Her thesis examined the reasons for the transformation of EU-Russia relations from courtship to confrontation between 1999 and 2008. Her monograph titled ‘EU-Russia relations, 1999-2015. From Courtship to Confrontation’ will be published by Routledge in July 2016 in the series on Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe: