Different Visions of Cooperation

Just when we thought that things were proceeding along harmoniously for the EU to hammer down a cooperation agreement with Moscow, along comes Sweden and Poland. Here’s an interesting review from the Economist: “Other countries are moving to counter what they see as Germany’s overly Russia-friendly policies. Poland and Sweden this week launched their own plan, called the “eastern partnership”, to offer generous trade and other co-operation to Ukraine and Georgia, as well as to other interested countries. The aim is to recreate the model of the “Visegrad” group of four central European countries in the early 1990s, which helped ex-communist states to prepare for what at the time seemed the highly uncertain prospect of EU membership. For the first time in any EU initiative, the plan explicitly includes Belarus (albeit only on a “technical” level for now). Russian regions such as Kaliningrad are also welcome to apply for some of the goodies that a partnership agreement can offer, such as better border crossings and environmental projects. Ex-communist Poland and rich, neutral Sweden may prove an effective combination. Their forceful foreign ministers, Radek Sikorski and Carl Bildt, get on well. Bravery is good. But brains are even better.