EIRP Proceedings, Vol 15, No 1 (2020)

When Legitimacy meets Violence. The Limits of EU’s Soft Power in the Eastern Partnership

Mihaela-Adriana Pădureanu


Looking at the evolution of the Eastern Partnership in the last decade we can identify a number of contradictory messages on the part of both sides involved. On the one hand, the EU has its own stated objectives with this initiative, and on the other hand the member states have their own expectations and goals, that more than once are subject to heterogeneous pressures. While the EU has proposed economic and political measures for the transformation of the EaP member states, these measures have been counterbalanced by military interventions on the territory of three of the EaP member states: Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. Another important actor in the region, NATO has different relations with the three mentioned states, but nonetheless can be considered as the other relevant transforming element in the region, together with EU. EU’s relation with its Eastern neighbours has been under considerable pressure after 2014. Although the relations continued to deepen this has be mostly on the economic rather than on the political sector. However, some groups still consider EU as a legitimate actor in the region. The problem of legitimacy in the evolution of international organizations has attracted a number of important researchers in the last years and the goal of this article in to contribute to this discussion. Due to the fact that military interventions took place in the three EaP member countries, we consider this to be a relevant feature that must be taken into account when analysing the capacity of the member states to comply with the reforms asked of them. 


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