Ukraine made some improvements to its electoral and judicial system, and there was also some progress in Georgia, where a new president was elected.
Some progress was made on the rule of law and democracy in the Eastern Partnership countries in 2013. For much of the year, led by Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden, EU member states pressed for the release of Ukrainian opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko and linked it to the Association Agreement and DCFTA, which they were hopeful Ukraine would sign. But shortly before the Vilnius summit in November, some member states – in particular, the Baltic states and Poland – were prepared to drop the issue of Tymoshenko’s imprisonment and became more willing to make compromises for signing the agreements. Partly as a result of European pressure, Ukraine made several improvements to its electoral and judicial system, but failed to implement more important laws on public prosecution authorities, the police, and electoral legislation.
In Georgia there was improvement in institutional impartiality and reform of the justice system. In fair and free presidential elections in October, the era of Mikhail Saakashvili came to an end and Giorgi Margvelashvili of the Georgian Dream party was elected. Presidential elections in Azerbaijan in October, on the other hand, did not meet OSCE standards. The incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev, exerted strong pressure on the opposition and was re-elected without real alternative candidates. Similarly, major challengers to President Serzh Sargsjan were not able to run in presidential elections in Armenia in February.
From 2014, the EU will increase funding for Eastern Partnership countries even more with regard to progress in areas such as human rights and the rule of law, which will lead to more money for Georgia and Moldova based on the principle of “more for more”. In the future, the EU will also have a new instrument in the form of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), which started its grant-making activities in May. However, the EED, which began as a Polish initiative, has a budget of only €14 million – mainly because big member states such as Germany limited their contributions.