OSCE Peacekeepers for Eastern Ukraine?

The Chief Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, will publish in a few days, in the next issue of EUFAJ (2/2016) this short comment on the question of OSCE peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine. They are – and will be – discussed in OSCE circles, in particular regarding the Minsk II Agreement on Ukraine, and the local elections in Eastern Ukraine. See the whole artcle (and others) in the week after the 9.5.2016 under http://www.eufaj.eu. The author had also contributed to a booklet: Ofelya Sargsyan/Hans-Jürgen Zahorka,  OSCE – Idea, Histoty, Challenges (with documents), with a short overview about the possible future of OSCE (see also http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/flyer-OSCE.pdf)

Should there be peacekeepers stationed in eastern Ukraine? With what kind of mandate, and how long? This question is examined also now in the framework of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), although not (yet?) officially. Russian peacekeepers alone are excluded, EU peacekeepers probably as well, and NATO peacekeepers too. Peacekeepers should be accepted by all the parties of a conflict. Whether this would be the case of OSCE armed personnel might be written in the clouds, but it is good that this possibility has been and will be discussed.

This led to a statement by a spokesperson of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office on alleged plans for armed OSCE mission to eastern Ukraine, on 27 April 2016. Germany is holder of the 2016 OSCE Chairmanship, and issued the following statement in Berlin in response to reports on alleged plans for an armed OSCE mission to eastern Ukraine: „The OSCE monitoring mission currently in place in eastern Ukraine is a civilian, unarmed mission. This was decided by the 57 participating States of the OSCE, and neither Germany nor France are involved in any agreement about changing the civilian nature of the mission – neither within the OSCE nor in the Normandy Format („N4“ – France, Ukraine, Russia, Germany).

It is true that we have, in our capacity as Chair of the OSCE and following consultations within the Normandy format, asked the Secretariat to develop options for improving security at the planned local elections. It is too early to say what the findings will be.

Without wishing to pre‑empt any decision, we can say that we find it difficult at this time to imagine what an armed OSCE mission might look like, that had the objective of effectively ensuring the security of the elections in the separatist areas and enhancing the security of OSCE observers. The OSCE currently has no precedent for an armed mission. On the contrary, being civilian in nature is a particularly important feature of OSCE monitoring missions, which require the consent of conflict parties to operate. When you take the idea of an armed mission to its logical conclusion, it raises a whole range of difficult legal, political, practical and military issues. We plan to arrange another meeting in the Normandy format in the foreseeable future, which will include the foreign ministers. A meeting of this kind would be the right opportunity to raise all the issues relating to the OCSE monitoring missions for discussion among the Normandy partners.“

In the background was a condemnation of threats against OSCE monitors in Ukraine: OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also on 27 April 2016 had expressed concern following the recent increase in ceasefire violations in Eastern Ukraine and the growing number of incidents involving OSCE monitors. Referring to recent threats against the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, Steinmeier had declared: “The SMM is a civilian, unarmed mission. It is instrumental for supporting the implementation of the ceasefire. The safety and security of SMM monitors must be assured by the sides. Those responsible for threatening or using force against the monitors must be held accountable.”

Maybe the „loud thinking“ about an armed OSCE mission should deter those who are against the OSCE as such („… they want to intervene in our internal affairs“, as declared often by the eastern Ukraine separatists). Indeed OSCE should think about their first armed peacekeepers, and this if only for the duration of local elections. Then OSCE would have found another, additional role – a role which would make sense if peacekeepers in Europe are needed. As mentioned, Russian peacekeepers alone are unthinkable, NATO ones as well, and the EU is not yet so far to deploy an armed force to keep the peace, if they would not be rejected as well, although Ukraine is an Eastern Partnership member state. So rests the OSCE, and in a peacekeeping mission lies a sensible and adequate task. At least it should be demanded, and who is against, this will speak for itself.

It can now be expected that at the next meeting in the Normandy format, with foreign ministers and/or presidents or prime ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, on the 11 May 2016 in Berlin also the issue will be discussed if and if yes, how the security of the local elections should be guaranteed. The date of the elections is not determined yet, but the issues around these elections have to be solved under the Minsk II Agreement. So Ukraine will be on the agenda, including the preparation and security of the elections. As SMM is not armed and a civilian force, and an upgrade of SMM is not likely at all, there may be only a solution in deploying an armed OSCE force to eastern Ukraine. After 11. May we may know more. For if there is a common position within the Normandy format, this will be also the case in the OSCE.

Eurasian Economic Union Observer – a new e-quarterly by LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH

Since some months, there exists a new publication as electronic quarterly with LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH. Besides the successful format of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal there is now also „Eurasian Economic Union Observer“. With this, the competences on the CIS area should obtain a wider echo, as this paper covers the EEU – which has been launched by Russian president Putin himself, which for the outside follows (the question is how much) demands of the imperial ideology of eurasianism, approved by wide parts of the population. This paper represents the media and press echo of the EEU in Russia and elsewhere, and it is entirely held in English, partly with translations from Russian articles.In the European Union and e.g. America or South East Asia there is not much knowledge about the EEU which is a bit thrifty with its public affairs efforts. However, at some day the EU will have to decide if and how to cooperate somehow with the EEU.

The EEU has been founded by Putin, with the central seat in Moscow, to be a counterppart to the European Union. However, there is no comparison, as the EEU member states (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan) are all either aurtoritarian or semi-autoritarian regimes and do not all form a necessary open society or economy. So an attempt to introduce a common currency (see in this blog from March 2015 under https://libertasblogs.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/the-eurasian-economic-unions-plans-for-a-common-currency-altyn-or-euraz/) has been already buried. Another problem are the economic discrepancies between the EEU member states, and this in view of the lack of regional balancing mechanisms, like the EU Regional Policy and cohersian funds. So, at present, while in the EU without doubt other regional integrations are welcome, any attempt to compae both is misplaced. But the EEU should be observed, and also ist positive outcomes should be welcomed. If there are no outcomes or bad outcomes, also due to national economic policies in the EEU, this should also be expressed.

Already in April 2015, LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH has launched its EEU Observatory; see the blog from 7.4.2015 (in English) https://libertasblogs.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/new-observatory-on-the-eurasian-economic-union-eeu/, or in German from https://libertasblogs.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/neues-observatorium-fur-eurasische-wirtschaftsunion/.

The editor of this paper is Ofelya Sargsyan M.A., M.A., a fluently Russian speaking editor of the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal, who together with colleagues compiles and eits on a quarterly bsis the EEU Observer. Have a look on EEU Observer no. 1/2016 under http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/eurasianobserver1_2016, and on EEU Observer 1/2015 (4th quarter) under http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/eurasian-economic-union-observer-1-2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia’s Trajectory on South Ossetia and Russia’s Creeping Occupation

By Ofelya Sargsyan, Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal

 

As the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs state on July 10 the Russian troops moved the demarcation line between South Ossetia and the rest of the Georgian territory, placing the so-called “border” on the territory close to the village of Tsitelubani of Gori municipality and the village of Orchosani in occupied Akhalgori district adjacent to the Tbilisi-Gori central highway.

The incident occurred soon after Georgia concluded and air defense treaty with France and NATO launched its “Fragile Spirit” multi-national trainings in the country. The movement of the “state border” markers for 450 meters further into Georgia from the South Ossetia demarcation line by the Russian troops, assumes that the local Georgian farmers will lose 10 hectares of wheat fields and cattle pastures[2]. Furthermore, it means that a 1.6 km-long segment of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline will fall under the control of Russia. Owned by the British Petroleum (BP), the pipeline is also known as the Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP). Running from Azerbaijan to the Georgian Black Sea terminal of Supsa, it has 833 km in length and a capacity of 145,000 barrels a day. However, BP Chief Spokesman in Georgia Gia Gvaladze stated that the change would mean nothing, with them needing no physical access to preserve the pipe. Another spokesperson of BP Georgia; Tamila Chantladze, stated on July 13 that WREP was operating was operating as normal and along the international standards. In his turn, Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze assured that Georgia will reroute the Baku-Supsa pipeline around the de-facto border in case there is any problem to its functioning

While both Georgia and the international community keep accusing Russia on breaking international law and violating the territorial integrity of another state, Russia rejects its role, stating that its troops had been patrolling the same administrative border since the 2008 Russian Georgian war over South Ossetia.

As such during the phone conversation between Head of Georgian Delegation in the Geneva International Discussions David Dondua and Head of Russia’s delegation in Geneva Discussions, Grigori Karasin on 13 July 2015, Mr Karasin stated that the banners marking the “state border” were exactly on the same place where they stood until April 18, 2015, when they were shown during a TV show of the Georgian TV Channel “Imedi”. Furthermore, the diplomat highlighted that the Georgian side was well aware that there was no border movement.

On the other hand, Georgia condemns Russia on illegal replacement of banners. Furthermore, the MFA of Georgia considers the Russian action as a continuation of the so-called “borderization” process within Georgia which breaches the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and the fundamental principles of the international law. Hence, Georgia calls the international community for support and measures against Russia for violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

As mentioned above, solidarity with Georgia has also expressed the international community.

To the point the EU reaffirmed its support for Georgia’s territorial integrity. Describing Russian step as “provocative” the Union and its monitoring mission (EUMM) called for deploying such tools as the Geneva International Discussions and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) to neutralize tensions. This is also in line with the UN statement, made on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who highlighted the negative impact on the daily lives of the locals because of the developments on the demarcation line.

The President of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Jean-Claude Frécon, also apart from condemning Russia, expressed the concern that “The moving of the demarcation line beyond the villages of Tsitelubani and Orchosani placing the Baku-Supsa pipeline under the control of the Russian forces creates a further risk of destabilising the whole Region”.

Furthermore, in her statement Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), acknowledged the alarming aspect of the actions and reiterated the Assembly’s support for the territorial integrity of Georgia.

Russian actions were officially criticized also by a number of individual states, such as Latvia, Lithuanian, Ukraine, Romania, Japan.

Reaction to the issue came also from the USA. To the point, while the US ambassador to Georgia, Richard Norland, described the land-grab as a step to “humiliate and provoke” Georgia’s pro-Western government[11], John Kirby, spokesperson of the US department of State, urged Russia to implement the provisions of the 2008 ceasefire agreement and withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions, recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgian regions as well as enable free entry for humanitarian aid to these regions.

Meanwhile, on July 19, 2015, the Georgian Minister of Defence Nina Khidasheli declared that Russia us testing Georgia’s patience, attempting to enroll it into a conflict which is unacceptable for the Georgian government.

Yet, the situation has generated a number of protest by activists and journalists. To the point, on July 14 more than 50 Georgian journalists held a protest “NO to Occupation” in the village of Khurvaleti and crashed the newly-established border sign saying “Republic of South Ossetia” and set there a Georgian flag which was however replaced by the Russian and South Ossetian armed forces two days later. Another demonstration with thousand protesters took place outside the State Chancellery building in central Tbilisi on July 18. Apart from the slogans like “Stop Russia”, the protestors also criticized Irakli Garibashvili’s government for being week and incompetent to withstand the Russian creeping occupation. Moreover, several of the protest organizing groups – among them the television station Rustavi-2, magazine Tabula and NGOs Georgian Democracy Initiative and Georgia’s Reforms Associates – seem to be in favor of the United National Movement (UNM), the party of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Notable is also the fact that also a number of well-known public figures participated and were even among the organizers of the rally. As such, Salome Samadashvili, once Georgia’s ambassador to the EU, talked against the Russian politics, highlighting that it is time for Georgia to become a modern European state. Also, Giga Bedinishvili, editor-in-Chief of Tabula magazine, mocked the current set-up of the Georgian-Russian bilateral relations which presupposes face-to-face meetings between Georgia’s special envoy for Russia Zurab Abashidze and Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin, whose last meeting was in on 15 July in Prague. He stated that the framework was suggested by UNM parliamentarians, coining the Garibashvili government as “defeatism”

Yet, some locals expressed concerns regarding the protests, stating that they further exacerbate the living conditions in the immediate vicinity of the administrative border. Moreover, on July 17 the police limited the entry of non-locals to the territory.As a resonse, the Prime Minister of the country, Irakli Garibashvili, accused the UNM of leaving the country with 25,000 internally displaced people and 150 villages out of central government control. He also called to come and urged the opposition not to intervene in the government’s efforts in settling the Problem.o solve the situation a meeting was held on July 20 in Ergneti under the auspices of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), co-facilitated by Kęstutis Jankauskas, the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), and Ambassador Angelo Gnaedinger, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-office for the South Caucasus. The Georgian Interior Ministry officials and representatives of the de-facto authorities of South Ossetia agreed that the local Georgian population can have access to their farmlands which are now within the within the territory of South Ossetia. Additionally, the return of Vazha Totladze, a Georgian citizen of the village of Knolevi in Kareli district who was kidnapped from his garden by armed men and taken into South Ossetia on 18 July, was agreed upon. Yet, the South Ossetian side refused to remove the border signs, installed by the Russian troops as well as declined to return the Georgian flag that the Russian forces had taken down.

As seen, while the current Georgian Dream coalition government came to power promising to improve the relationship with Moscow, the latest developments demonstrate, that Russia even furthered its positions in South Ossetia with the new border signs having been set and so far seem to remain there. To note, this is not the first incident of line-drawing in South Ossetia – it has been separating itself from Georgia, installing wired fences since 2008. However, notwithstanding its claims for independence, as a matter of fact it lacks autonomous infrastructures, with its budget, economy, and almost all political processes being controlled by the Russian Federation. Furthermore, the Russian border guards control and detain trespassers along the demarcation lines. Russia finances its border signs, fences as well as tracking cameras. South Ossetia also concluded a military agreement with Russia, entitling the latter to protect the disputed territory. With these aspects at stake, Georgia has limited options to act.

It cannot set border forces since it does not recognize the South Ossetian independence, thus, that border being nonexistent to it. The country does not want another military upheavel, either. Hence, it remains for the country to talk against the situation, present its concerns and describe the actions as illegal and provocative and call for international reactions and actions. Yet, there seems to be little opportunity, if ever, that Georgia will be able to regain the 20% of its territory. It looks like everyone will eventually accept the new borders as in the Crimean case. But Germany was also reunited after 45 years.

This article will be updated and published in EUFAJ 3/15, appearing in the first half of August 2015. See then http://www.eufaj.eu

 

New LIBERTAS Paper 80 by Ofelya Sargsyan: Selected EU Foreign Policy Areas …

Since mid-July 2015 a new Ofelya Sargsyan book is available, which is a sampler based on her previously written papers on EU foreign policy. It contains an article about „European Foreign Policy: its nature, issues, Sccpe and potential“ – ranging from defense interventions of the EU (which are not too well known, in general) until the possible savings by a common foreign and defense policy. It explains also what „OCTs“ are – overseas countries and territories, all over the world, belonging to France, UK, Netherlands and Denmark – from Wallis & Futuna in the South Pacific until Greenland. And it covers the regional integraton in the Arctic Region and the relations with  the EU, as well, in a methodological approach to external „soft power“ of the EU, the concept of plurinational states, of participatory democracy and of the role of non-state actors for human security.

The paper – see its cover below – contains 148 pages and is available as print paper (15,00 EUR) via verlag@libertas-institut.com, or in all bookshops (from 20.7.2015), or as e-book (4,99 EUR) via the same e-mail, and from 1.8.2015 in all e-book portals.

The full bibliographical data:
Ofelya Sargsyan: Selected EU Foreign Policy Areas and Instruments, LIBERTAS Paper 80, LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH, Rangendingen – July 2015. 148 p., ISBN (e-book/PDF) 978-3-937642-63-5; ISBN (print version) 978-3-937642-64-2.

LIB_Pap_80_Ofelya

Neues Observatorium für Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion

Die Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion (Eurasian Economic Union; EEU) ist ein neues, zum 1. Januar 2015 gestartetes Gebilde, das unter der Führung von Russland zu stehen scheint und aus Belarus, Kasachstan und Russland besteht, ebenso aus Armenien, das zunächst einen Assoziationsvertrag mit der EU unterschreiben wollte, und auch dem zentralasiatischen Kirgistan, das im Verlauf des Sommers 2015 dazu stoßen soll. Was dahinter steht, wer die dortige „Kommission“ ausmacht (die der EU-Kommission nachempfunden wurde), was die offiziellen Politikbereiche und die faktischen Einschränkungen betrifft, das wird seit einigen Wochen in einem neuen Observatorium, einer Beobachtungsstelle, festgehalten. Dieses Observatorium ist untergebracht bei m „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ), einer derzeit nicht-kommerziellen, von LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH gesponserter Vierteljahresschrift, die nur auf Englisch erscheint und von einem multinationalen Herausgeberbeirat unter Leitung von Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, ehemaliger Europaabgeordneter und langjähriger Regierungsberater für die EU, UNDP usw., ediert wird. Das EEU-Observatorium steht unter der Leitung der in Deutschland lebenden Armenierin Ofelya Sargsyan M.A., die diesen Teil ihrer Tätigkeit in fließendem Russisch absolviert, in Yerevan/Armenien und Flensburg politikwissenschaftliche Master-Abschlüsse erlangt hat und als Redakteurin bei EUFAJ sowie als Analystin bei LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH tätig ist.

In dem neuen Observatorium werden nicht nur Stimmen aus den Mitgliedstaaten der EEU, die sich oft mit der Europäischen Union vergleicht, was aber sehr mit Vorsicht zu genießen ist, gesammelt, sondern auch Quellen zum sog. „Eurasianismus“. Dieser ist eine imperiale Ideologie, wenn auch nicht am Zarismus orientiert, und drückt eine streng antiwestliche Haltung aus. Einer ihrer Hauptvertreter ist heute der Philosoph Alexander Dugin, ein Mann von schillernder Vergangenheit, der dafür plädiert, dass die gesamte Ukraine wieder Russland einverleibt werden soll. Auch der „Eurasianismus“ lehnt sich an der Eurasischen Wirtschaftsunion an, die z. B. in Kasachstan eine ganz andere Zielrichtung kennt.

Das EEU-Observatorium hat jetzt den ersten Teil des EEU-Vertrages auf Englisch übersetzt (siehe http://www.eufaj.eu, Ausgabe 2/2015); Schritt für Schritt werden die anderen Teile des Vertragswerks übersetzt und kurz kommentiert und – aus Sicht der EU – bewertet werden. Dabei kommen auch Unternehmen zu Wort, die gebeten werden, ihre eigenen Erfahrungen dem Observatorium mitzuteilen – es gibt noch sehr wenig Erfahrungen mit der EEU. Das Observatorium will auch Publikationen zum Thema herausgeben – insoweit ist jede Kooperation oder Erfahrung willkommen (eufaj@libertas-institut.com).

New EUFAJ 2/2015 – with articles from South Pacific via Ukraine to the Caribbean

The new issue of „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ) is out; the link is http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/EUFAJ-2-2015.pdf.

Among the articles:

– plurinational states in the EU and third countries (Ofelya Sargsyan),

– interview with Niels Jorgen Thogersen, president of 80 million Europeans („Europeans throughout the world“),

– Turkey – with several articles after the Armenian Genocide, and on the stalling EU process,

– Lilit Mkhitaryan on Armenian local elections (shortcomings and perspectives),

– Marek Dabrowski on the reality of Ukraine’s fiscal arithmetic,

– a short interview with Henri Malosse, EESC President, on his visa ban to Russia – one of the 89, by Carmen Aguilera García,

– short contributions on Russia’s new language minorities, Bosnia’s new SAA, EP targeting tax evasion in developing countries,

– EU – South Pacific: When comes CEPA?, EU – Dominican Republic relations could be intensified (Matthias Major),

– as documentation: the English text of part 1 of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU),

– social inclusion strategy of labour migrants in Russia (Tatyana Bezborodova),

– human development indicators for innovation management in Russia (Sergey Elkin), and many others ,,,

 

New Observatory on the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)

Within LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH, there is from beginning of April 2015 an observatory on Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) affairs – ranging from the history of Eurasianism until the most topical developments like e.g. the possible preparations for a common Eurasian currency. It is mainly intended for access out of the European Union and for scientific purposes, but it is open for requests and cooperation throughout the world. The EEU is at present composed of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia (since 1.1.2015); Kyrgyzstan will join on 1.5.2015. The Russian president V. Putin has said he wants the whole former Soviet republics, except the Baltic Republics, to form the Eurasian Economic Union.

This EEU Observatory will start working on an informal basis, and is headed by Ofelya Sargsyan M.A. The Armenia-born political scientist is also Junior Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ); see http://www.libertas-institut.eu/de/EUFAJ/Ofelya_Sargsyan.pdf. The output will be an archive and database, articles, discourses and lectures, advice and papers for government level, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), conferences, company purposes etc. Any later news will be published on Facebook, on the blog http://libertasblogs.wordpress.com, or on www.eufaj.eu as well as in EUFAJ.

The EEU cannot be compared directly to the European Union, neither with its background, nor with the political system of its member states and the degree of voluntary participation. There is a strong knowledge deficit about it in the EU and other countries. While it is totally legitimate to integrate also economies of CIS countries, there is, however, also sometimes the call for a new ‚empire‘ behind the attempts to set up a Eurasian Economic Union.

The Content of the New EUFAJ 1 / 2015: From Minsk II to South Pacific

EUFAJ 1/2015 has appeared now. This is the link: http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/EUFAJ_1_2015.pdf,  with articles on:

  • Basics of European Foreign Policy (incl. the money which could be saved!),
  • the South Stream pipeline after Russia cancelled it, and the perspectives for Russian oil & gas,
  • property in post-Soviet space (example: Georgia),
  • the Minsk II agreements verbatim – just to check them,
  • disinformation and Ukraine politics,
  • the EU Fundamental Rights Charter in Russian (just to pass it on),
  • currency crises in the CIS area,
  • Altyn or Euraz – a currency for the Eurasian Economic Union?,
  • Russian crisis indicators,
  • South Caucasus between Russia and the EU,
  • European Kurds fighting IS,
  • Central America and journalists,
  • Pacific regional integration,
  • Russian expenditure control of legal entities, etc.

EUFAJ appears quarterly, online and in English. It is an open, pluralist paper, with different contributions – but its tendency is very clear: a strong, consistent and human rights-based foreign policy of Europe in the world. Please see the website – for all older issues, for information about the editorial board, for the permanent index etc.: http://www.eufaj.eu

The Eurasian Economic Union’s Plans for a Common Currency: Altyn or Euraz?

The Eurasian Economic Union is a Russian-led project. On the way of forming it, then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that from January 1, 2012 the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan would be created, which would pave the path for the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union. Thus, the Custom Union (CU) of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, launched in 2010[1] was evolved into the Single Economic Space (SES) on January 1, 2012 with Armenia announcing about its interest to join the project on September 3, 2013.

The Eurasian Economic Union was put into force on January 1, 2015. Its purpose can be correlated with Russia’s competitive disposition with the EU, regarding the post-Soviet Union countries. Additionally, the initiative can be Russia’s attempt to counterbalance the EU’s appeal and influence.  Hence, whereas Russia claims that integration is beneficial for all the parties engaged, in reality the picture is not that clear-cut. One of the causes are the political systems and structures of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union – they are not democratic, disposed to corruption and instrumentalization of law. Another evidence is Russia’s aggressive policy of recent years. Moreover, the country’s superior position in shaping the EEU also comes to prove that the project is actually a simulation of integration. The EEU seems to be driven forwards by forceful integration, which is becoming less and less favorable for the member states except for Russia, per se.

Hence, the EEU’s functioning will mainly be dependent on Russia which seeks to push integration involving more and more spheres from which it can get utmost benefits. Such an opportunity appears to be the introduction of a common currency within the EEU. Thus, while other founding members states of the project have been less supportive to such a plan and have been increasingly imitating integration rather than opting for it[2], on March 10, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Central Bank of Russia and the Government „to determine the potential dimensions of the integration in the monetary and financial sectors in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union with a study of the feasibility of establishing a monetary union in the future.“ Putin’s this instruction is to be worked out together with the central banks of the member states of the EEU by September 1, 2015. And the new currency can appear already in 2016[3].

Among many issues the establishment of a monetary union presupposes introduction of a common currency.  Hence, according to the documents ratified by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in May, 2014 in Kazakhstan, a Eurasian Central Bank and a common currency was supposed to be established by 2025[4]. To the point still in 2014 Rinat Abdullin, the chairman of „Altyn Kara“ Bank, stated: „Personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with the introduction of a single currency for our three countries. Many of us lived in the Soviet Union, and they remember that there was a single currency such a large area – the ruble, which was accepted everywhere. No matter whether you were going to the Far East, Siberia or Georgia – it was very convenient, because there was a confidence that all prices are formed in a common currency. This situation is much easier for business, as well as for the calculation of ordinary people“[5].

Yet, the Russian president decided to accelerate the process and this at a time when Russia faces a serious economic crisis and the ruble has practiced a severe depreciation[6] as a result of which the amount of mutual settlements among the member states of the EEU in dollars has increased. Moreover, the West speculated to turn off Russia from the interbank payment system SWIFT, yet to make transactions, say from Russia to Kazakhstan, it is necessary to obtain confirmation from the American settlement centers. Obviously enough, the tense foreign policy pushed Putin to rush with the initiative.

In reaction to the initiative, Armenian Central Bank Board member Armenak Darbinian stated, “there is no document among those signed [by Armenia] within the framework of its accession to the EEU that would concern the feasibility study or prospects related to this matter (introduction of the common currency)… There have been no negotiations, no formal discussions in this direction yet. I would say more: the issue of forming a single financial market regulator was discussed within the framework of the EEU and it should happen after 2025. During this time, national laws and regulations should be harmonized and only then the issue can be put on the agenda. It cannot be an administrative decision. This requires relevant developments in the economy and in the financial markets”[7].

Yet Prosperous Armenia Party former MP, economist Vardan Bostanjyan considers it quite feasible that Armenia incorporates a common currency with the EEU. He adds that it will have a favorable impact on the country, saying that “solely by the fact that quite a number of Armenians are in that [EEU] region; the word is about the migrants who are having losses in the case of [currency] exchange rates. But, now, they will not have that”[8].  However, there are also contra opinions. As such Armenian economist Ashot Yeghiazaryan said, “If we switch to the ruble, or another Eurasian currency, and if our Central Bank begins to keep its funds in that currency, discrepancies will arise between the currency loans, and our entire microeconomics will deviate”[9].

It is to be mentioned that the idea of establishing a common currency has not been accepted straightforwardly also in Belarus and Kazakhstan. The director of the Institute of the Global Political Economics of Kazakstan, analyst Akimbekov Sultan said that the instrumentalization of a common currency should not be an issue of a near future. He states that while the idea is interesting there are apparent problems – all the member states have different levels of development. Moreover, Belarus has not yet undergone those market reforms that, say Russia and Kazakhstan went through.

Belarusian columnist from the Belarusian Radio Liberty and political scientist for the „Strategy“ center Valery Karbalevich stated, “And if we are talking whether the Member States of the EEU in general should have a single currency, I do not think that Kazakhstan and Belarus will agree. This would mean that these countries lose their sovereignty”[10]

With all the events, facts and discussions at stake, it is still to be mentioned that it is totally unthinkable that, for example, during the creation of the euro in the years 1990-1999 (Maastricht Treaty to book-money introduction[11]), and this since the Pierre Werner Plan from 1970, one president would have given a commando to „his“ central bank ordering a study on the possible common currency, predicting its effective introduction for the next year, while the order to the central bank has gone out in March of the current year. Observers from European Union sources, asked privately, have the presumption that the Russian president has an „economic psychogram“ being somehow „actively jealous of the EU acquis communautaire“ which he wants to be caught up rapidly, and „while common currencies are to be welcomed in general, any too fast introduction can damage the participating states considerably“, even if the central bank of the integration is not de facto independent.

As for the idea of the Eurasian currency, on the whole, it dates back to 1994 when the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed the notion. In 2012 Vladimir Putin endorsed the idea. The Kazakh President has never been suspicious to reset Soviet Union or Soviet Union 2.0., he was however all the time for economic integration, until a certain time in Central Asia[12]. Concerning the currency within the framework of the EEU, it is said to be similar to the Russian ruble. As for the name of the forthcoming common currency two options, are being discussed – Altyn and Euraz. The first name – Altyn, mentioned by Nazarbayev in 2014, meant a three penny coin in Old Russian and the word itself stems from the Golden Horde. The second name – Euraz, is parallel to, or a kind of imitation of the Euro[13].

It is envisaged that the key element in sustaining the new currency will be raw oil exports from Russia and Kazakhstan. Therefore, it has been decided to base the Central Bank of the EEU in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Evidently, the involved EEU governments want to rely more than ever on oil and gas exports, which is diametrically opposed to what also Russian economists preach. The potential market will include about 180 million people, with the total volume of GDP being more than $ 2 trillion.[14]

Yet, it is under a question whether the member states of the EEU, can indeed make the functioning of a common currency a reality. All the currencies of the member states currently face fluctuations and to avoid this in the event of a common currency additional resources will be required. Moreover, the efficient functioning of the EEU per se is also dubious.

Ofelya Sargsyan

Ofelya Sargsyan M.A. (AUA Yerevan), M.A. (Univ. Flensburg) is Junior Editor with European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ) and a Political Analyst with LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH.

 

[1]Rilka Dragneva & Kataryna Wolczuk, Russia, the Eurasian Customs Union and the EU: Cooperation, Stagnation or Rivalry?, Russia and Eurasia Programme,  Chatham House, Briefing Paper, August 2012, p. 4, http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/public/Research/Russia%20and%20Eurasia/0812bp_dragnevawolczuk.pdf.

[2] Aleksandra Jarosiewicz, Ewa Fischer, cooperation: Tomasz Bakunowicz; The Eurasian Economic Union – more political, less economic, Centre for Eastern Studies NUMBER 157,  20.01.2015, p. 1-7

[3]TASS Russian News Agenccy, (Информационное телеграфное агентство России (ИТАР-ТАСС), Putin instructed the Central Bank and the Government to work out the possibilities of creating a monetary union in the EEU (Путин поручил ЦБ и кабмину изучить возможность создания валютного союза в ЕАЭС), March 10, 2015, http://tass.ru/ekonomika/1817884,

Radio Azatutyun, Armenia Not To Attend Meeting Of Trade Bloc Partners, March 18, 2015, http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/26891807.html

Naviny.by, Putin instructed to work out the possibilities of creating a monetary union in the EEU (Путин поручил проработать вопрос о создания в рамках ЕEU валютного союза); March 18, 2015, http://naviny.by/rubrics/finance/2015/03/10/ic_news_114_455255/

Читать полностью: http://naviny.by/rubrics/finance/2015/03/10/ic_news_114_455255/

[4]Banknoteinfo.net, Eurasian Economic Union plans to adopt common currency unit , August 13, 2014, http://banknoteinfo.net/eurasian-economic-union-plans-adopt-common-currency-unit/

[5]East Time, Introduction of Altyn will Be Useful for a Eurasian Union, Tuesday, May 13, 2014, http://easttime.info/news/kazakhstan/introduction-altyn-will-be-useful-eurasian-union

[6]Pravda-TV.ru, By Putin’s instruction a common currency of the EEU  will be launced  in 2016: Altyn or Euraz? (Единая валюта ЕАЭС по поручению Путина появится в 2016 году: «алтын» или «евраз»?) http://www.pravda-tv.ru/2015/03/10/129883

[7] Asbarez.com, ‘No Plans Yet’ for Armenia to Adopt Single EEU Currency, March 11, 2015, http://asbarez.com/132864/%E2%80%98no-plans-yet%E2%80%99-for-armenia-to-adopt-single-eeu-currency/

[8]News.am, Economist: Armenia will benefit from Eurasian Economic Union single currency, March 13, 2015, http://news.am/eng/news/256734.html

[9]News.am, Armenia economist: EEU single currency is foolish, March 14, 2015, http://news.am/eng/news/257002.html

[10]Mariam Grigoryan, 1am, (The approach to the single currency of the Eurasian Union is ambiguous in Belarus and Kazakhstan) Բելառուսում և Ղազախստանում միասնական արժույթի վերաբերյալ կարծիքը միանշանակ չէ, March 14, 2015, http://www.1in.am/1572943.html

[11] Before the Euro has been introduced as cash currency in 2002, it had been at disposition as book-money, on bank accounts only, since 1999.

[12] Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, Strategy Options for Central Asian Integration –For a Central Asian „Cecchini Report”, EUFAJ 1 / 2010, p. 116,  www.eufaj.eu

[13]Interpolit, Oil altyn against the dollar banknote (Нефтяной алтын против бумажного доллара);  11.03, 2015, http://politobzor.net/show-47317-neftyanoy-altyn-protiv-bumazhnogo-dollara.html

[14] Russian Telegraphic Agency (Русское Телеграфное Агентство), „Instead of the ruble – Altyn. Eurasian Economic Union opts into a new currency (Вместо рубля – алтын. Евразийский союз переходит на новую валюту), March 12, 2015, http://www.riata.ru/ekonomika/item/716-vmesto-rublya-altyn-evrazijskij-soyuz-perekhodit-na-novuyu-valyutu.html

 

Nouvelle coopération avec l’Université européenne de Tbilisi/Géorgie

Il y a une nouvelle coopération entre LIBERTAS – Institut europeen GmbH et la European University (Université européenne) de Tbilisi/Géorgie. Ces jours, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka a signé pour LIBERTAS – Institut européen un „Memorandum of Understanding“, un accord de cadre sur la coopération, avec le Recteur de l’Université européenne, M. Lasha Kandelakishvili. La personne clé dans cette université sera le Doyen de la faculté de droit, des sciences économiques et sociales, M. Sosso Kelenjeridze, qui a fait une partie de ses études en France, avant d’obtenir une reputation de juriste avec une portée internationale. Dans le passé, il avait des postes diverses dans des ministères géorgiens. Chez LIBERTAS – Institut européen GmbH la personne compétente sera Mme. Ofelya Sargsyan M.A., qui est une des éditrices de „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“  et avait atteint un mastère de l’AUA à Yerevan/Arménie et un (études européennes) à l’Université de Flensbourg/Allemagne.

 

150112_Drapeau_europ_EuropUniv_Tbilisi

Dans une des réunions sur la coopération, un drapeau européen pour l’Université européenne est décerné aux Recteur, M. Lasha Kandelakishvili (à droite).

 

Cette coopération s’étendra du dévéloppement de curriculum (par example pour un Mastère aux études européennes) aux conférences scientifiques, universités d’été et aux cours divers, par exemple par des enseignants européens. Dans cette coopération universitaire le tandem franco-allemand va jouer un rôle prominent.

New Cooperation with the European University in Tbilisi/Georgia

There is new European cooperation focussing on the European University in Tbilisi: For LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka signed these days a Memorandum of Understanding with Lasha  Kandelakishvili, Rector of the European University. The relevant person there is the Dean of the Legal, Economic and Humanities Faculty, Sosso Kelenjeridze, who himself had studied also in France, is a reputated lawyer and has in the past worked in different government ministries; at LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH the coordinator for this cooperation is Ofelya Sargsyan M.A., who is Junior Editor at European Union Foreign Affairs Journal and had been awarded two Master degrees, one in Yerevan/Armenia (AUA) and one at Flensburg University/Germany.

The cooperation will range from curriculum development (e.g. a Master in European Studies) to scientific conferences, summer schools and a cooperation for single courses (with e.g. compact courses by EU university teachers).

150112_Round_Table_EuropUniv_Tbilisi

The picture shows the initial round table discussion at the European University in Tbilisi about the possibilities of the cooperation.

New EUFAJ 4/2014: From Moldova to Model European Union

EUFAJ (European Union Foreign Affairs Journal) 4 / 2014 is out, with articles on

  • Moldova, its economic situation, Russia and the EU,
  • what does Russia want with Abkhazia; the new Abkhazia-Russia treaty,
  • migration and Armenia: Genocide, inflow, brain-drain,
  • Turkey and the recognition of Armenian Genocide,
  • Nagorno-Karabakh and the situation after the helicopter downing in November 2014,
  • first Nagorno-Karabakh group in the European Parliament,
  • the Trade Roadmap for the EU Commission, by the EU Business umbrella organisation,
  • Chinese capital and European real estate
  • new political framework for the European bio-based economy,
  • ethical and ethno-religious background of cyclical crises,
  • participatory democracy,
  • uniting Europe’s youth: Model European Union.

Please go to  http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/EUFAJ/EUFAJ_4_2014.pdf  (on the website temporarily available only under the German flag while the language of all the four flags is English. All the previous EUFAJ numbers can be downloaded from www.eufaj.eu)

EUFAJ 3 / 2014 is out and online. This is the content:

This is the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ) link to the new issue of 3rd quarter 2014. In this issue which can be downloaded under this link: http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/EUFAJ/EUFAJ_3_2014.pdf you can find, among others, the following contributions:

Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs): Their Current Positions and Relationship with the EU – Ofelya Sargsyan

Ukraine: Can Meaningful Reform Come Out of Conflict? – Marek Dabrowski

Too Blind to See the Threat We Pose to Russia – Andreas M. Bock

The Latest 2014 Standard Eurobarometer: The European Elections Made a Difference

European Year for Development 2015 – The First European Year Dealing with EU External Policy

The Strategic Culture of Authoritarian Regimes: Mountainous Karabakh Conflict in the Limelight –  Grigor Boyakhchyan

Spanish Regional Parliament Recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh’s Self-Determination

EU Commission: New Cooperation Priorities for the Eastern and the Southern Neighbourhood – 5.5 Billion EUR for 2014-2020

Adapting to Arctic ChangeMonica Bjermeland

India: New Business Opportunities – Sourajit Aiyer

Value Africans Place on Education Varies Widely by Country: Africans Often Perceive Personal Connections as More Important to Success – Steve Crabtree 

The whole EUFAJ website can be seen under www.eufaj.eu.

 

EUFAJ 1 – 2 / 2013 is online: Here is the content

Please find here the link of  another issue  of the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ),  1/2-2013, which is now online:

http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/EUFAJ/no1_2_2013.pdf

With

– an article on the Macedonian party system (compared to Slovakia),

– a breathtaking article about child marriages among the Roma,

– an article about the Elders of the Indian tribes in Canada (First Nations),

and contributions on

– migration and security issues,

– the LLDC character, and conflict prevention in South Sudan,

– the 24 official languages of the EU

– an EU study on protectionism

The Homepage of the Journal is http://www.eufaj.eu.

Armenia as EU Member State? Not Impossible, Says Ofelya Sargsyan In Her New Book

An enlarged version of a Master thesis for a M. A. degree in European Studies (University of Flensburg / Germany, International Institute of Management and European Studies), this book based on a lot of sources, interviews and other empirical research shows a thorough scientific depth. Besides it is the first book in the literature landscape by any – in this case Armenian – author pleading openly for an Armenian membership in the European Union. When writing this study, the author wanted originally to describe a more or less slow changeover of Armenia towards the EU, when not only she was surprised by the announcement of the Armenian Government to join the Russia-led Eurasian Customs Union on 3rd September, 2013. This has already induced furies within Armenian politics and above all civil society, and the result at present – before the Vilnius Summit of the Eastern Partnership at the end of November 2013 – is open.

But one thing is for sure: If Armenia would go indeed into the Customs Union and later into the Eurasian Union, the results, the economic benefits, the neglecting of necessary reforms, the treatment of matters and of personnel will create a backlash in Armenia (and the EU) which will be the basis of more solidarity than ever with the legitimate security interests of Armenia, possibly with the support of the EU. This backlash will endorse a future, new approach towards the EU.

Ofelya Sargsyan writes why: Armenia is well-anchored in Europe, since almost 2000 years, and it had more to do with European capitals like Paris, London, Brussels etc. in the 2nd half of the 19th century than people think. Of course, it would be a European border region, but together with Georgia – which also strives into the EU – it could be just this. The book deals with geographic, political, economic and cultural reasons, why Armenia should follow a clear foreign policy towards Europe – which has not at all to collide with special and privileged relations to Russia.

The impressive history of the country’s relations to the Council of Europe and the EU is well described, as well as the EU’s perception of its hypothetic move. But also the positions of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh and Iran as well as of Russia and of course Georgia are described as those of neighbours interested in the regional integration orientation of Armenia.

The author, belonging otherwise to an „impatient“ young generation, knows perfectly, that the EU membership takes a lot of time, but she pleads – in an outspoken, but never „pushy“ way, for a sustainable change in Armenia’s foreign policy – a change which since more than 20 years of Armenian independence would not have to be a real change, after all.

Further informations on the book flyer, to be downloaded on the LIBERTAS – European Institute homepage:

Klicke, um auf Flyer_Sargsyan.pdf zuzugreifen

OS_2_130817_at_Serb_Museum_BUD

The Author, coming originally from Yerevan, studied English philology for her B.A. degree and made her first Master (M.A.) in Political Science and International Relations at American University of Armenia, with a thesis on a financial subject. Since the end of 2011 she lives in Germany where she studied for her 2nd Master (M.A. in European Studies) at the University of Flensburg. Besides working for the press service of the Central Council of Armenians in Germany (Zentralrat der Armenier) whom she represented various times, also on conferences and TV discussions in Armenia, she is also Junior Editor of „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ) where she covers among others Eastern Partnership, and Russian-speaking countries, minority issues, and book reviews.

Ofelya Sargsyan: Pleading For Armenia’s Accession To The European Union
130 pages, October 2013.
ISBN 978-3-937642-50-5 – e-book/PDF 5,99 EUR;
e-book/Amazon Kindle version 5,99 EUR;
ISBN 978-3-937642-49-9 – Paper Edition 15,00 EUR (from 15.12.2013)

Orders for paper edition in any bookshop or by e-mail, for eBooks (PDF Version – immediately available after 20.10.2013) by e-mail: LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH (LIBERTAS Verlag), Lindenweg 37, 72414 Rangendingen, Germany, Tel. +49 7471 984996-0, Fax +49 7471 984996-19,
e-Mail: verlag@libertas-institut.com, Internet (Book Shop): http://www.libertas-institut.com.
(eBooks will be sent in PDF by e-mail after having received the invoiced amount, without any data transfer costs; invoice will be sent immediately upon order)

Orders for Amazon Kindle reader eBooks via http://www.amazon.com (or your country’s Amazon website), after 22.10.2013. You should have an Amazon Kindle Reader.

National Minorities in Europe and Their Protection: Two Events in Flensburg and Budapest

Flensburg, European Center for Minority Issues:
Monitoring the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

On July 5, 2013 the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) organized a high-level experts‘ conference on „Shaping the Frame Across the Cycles“, on Monitoring the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM), in Flensborghus, Flensburg, Germany.

The conference sought to present the experts’ views in the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention  (ACFC) for the first 15 years of its existence. In the frame of the conference the ECMI staff as well as the invited professionals provided the chronicles of the ACFC; its launch, activities, actions,  achievements as well as impediments it faces.  It is to be mentioned that the ECMI managed to gather the most outstanding experts in regards to the ACFC, among them being the first president of the ACFC, Prof. Rainer Hofmann.  The conference was divided into three sections. To begin with the mandate of the ACFC was described, afterwards the enforcement mechanisms were discussed and lastly, the monitoring systems were under discourse.

The conference was also a tribute to Rainer Hofmann. Moreover, the outcomes of the conference are to be published in a „Festschrift“ in honor to Hofmann for his dedicated excellent experience in the Advisory Committee.

In the end it is to be mentioned that the conference, full of scholastic  and pragmatic analyses regarding the minority issues, their protection and the protection structures, strengths and weaknesses (among which the „monitoring fatigue“ of the Council of Europe Member States) was also spiced with warm opening  and closing words as well as pleasant coffee breaks which provided an excellent floor for further discussions and debates.

The European Centre for Minority Issues, see also under www.ecmi.de, is funded by the Danish and German governments as well as by the one of Schleswig-Holstein state in North Germany. It has also very efficient outlets in the Caucasus (Georgia) and Kosovo and has an excellent record in any European minority issue, running also an outstanding standing and electronic library.

Tom Lantos Institute, Budapest: Norms and Practices of Minority Rights in Central and South-Eastern Europe

In the same token, acknowledging the primacy of ensuring non-discriminatory and tolerant environment for the diverse national minorities as the basis for the societal development and secure atmosphere, the National University of Public Service and the Tom Lantos Institute organized International Summer School on Minority Rights: Norms and Practices in Central and South-Eastern Europe in Budapest, Hungary, from August 4-10, 2013. To the point, the Summer School was organized very painstakingly and meticulously, taking into account the interests and priorities of all and each of the participants. The Budapest-based Tom Lantos Institute is under the direction of Anna-Maria Bíro.

During the widely comprehensive, academic and at the same time interactive lectures it was highlighted that inclusion and participation are the forces contributing to raising the national minorities’ awareness of their duties, responsibilities as well as rights and privileges. Additionally, it was argued that solidarity is an inseparable component for having civic society as well as encouraging pluralistic democratic systems. The whole programme of the Summer School could be divided into two parts. Firstly, the international norms, practices and mechanisms in managing the ethno-cultural diversity in Europe were presented. In the second part of the programme the implementation of minority rights were analyzed. To fulfill the objective various case studies were deployed, among them being Muslim Turks of Western Thrace in Greece, Jewish life and Anti-Semitism, the Hungarian minority protection system, the Serbian system, the Romanian practice as well as the situation in Kosovo. Additionally, the implementation of the Roma rights was discussed.

The Tom Lantos Institute was launched in the context with the long-time US Congressman Tom Lantos, who as Hungarian had survived the Holocaust and was among those American Congressmen who knew perfectly what was going on in different European countries, what led him also to chair the US Delegation for the inter-parliamentary talks with the European Parliament. So it was logical that in the frame of the Summer School, the participants paid a visit to the Jewish Community House in Budapest, where they received the hospitability of the Hungarian Jews, enjoyed an interesting and also entertaining presentation on “Jewish Communities in Central Europe: Revival and Inter-Ethnic Relations Viewed Through Jokes” as well as walked to see the two Synagogues in Budapest. It is to be mentioned that this was not the only occasion to have a meeting with the national minorities’ communities in Hungary.

There was also a field trip to Szentendre, a small town not far from Budapest. Here, an informative and exciting meeting was waiting for the participants. The representatives of the Serbian community presented the history, activities and life of the Serbs in Hungary. Moreover, a Serbian museum and two Orthodox churches were visited.

What is to be added is that the Summer School provided an excellent ground for the experts in the field to have very comprehensive and all-inclusive discussions and debates on various issues related to the minorities, their rights, implementation structures, fatigues as well as successes. The programme was a unique occasion to enrich academic knowledge and skills with the help of the scholars as well as the participants who were all open-minded and sensible specialists of the field, as post graduates or Ph.D. candidates, or in public administration, NGOs or journalism. It was interesting to have discussions with them both in the realm of the lectures as well as during informal meetings.

All in all, the Summer School provided wonderful memories to all of the parties. It enabled to enlarge the scope of knowledge on national minorities, establish new contacts as well as have a nice time and sightseeing in the wonderful capital-city of Hungary, Budapest.

OS_2_130817_at_Serb_Museum_BUD

Both the conferences „Shaping the Frame Across the Cycles“ held by ECMI and the Summer School on Minority Rights organized by the National University of Public Service and the Tom Lantos Institute were covered by Ofelya Sargsyan, M.A.,  Junior Editor at the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ).

This article is also – with several other photos – published on the EUFAJ Website: www.eufaj.eu

A Remark pro domo: EUFAJ Is Now on Facebook

These days EUFAJ has entered Facebook. With this step, we want first to accelerate the communication with our readers and second to enlarge our outreach. At the same time, the recent events in many countries have confirmed that being on Facebook is no mistake for a paper.

It is interesting, how our community of „Likers“ is and will be composed. Just go on your Facebook page, if you have one, and then in the search box („Search for people, places and things“) write „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal„. Then you will be on the page, where in the next time all couple of days an issue of EUFAJ will be mentioned with its content and the links. We also publish our new blog entries, which in the last days had an increase in views of almost 600%

So if you have Facebook, you can be immediately and automatically alerted about our activities – including this blog (however, for this blog one can order easily alerts if a new entry has been made)

This Facebook Innovation for a journal, which for an organisation is totally different compared to an individual, is under the wings of our Junior Editor, Ofelya Sargsyan, who is now also the Social Media Coordinator with EUFAJ.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, EUFAJ