EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY SCORECARD 2016

Eastern neighbourhood

26 - Rule of law, democracy and human rights in the eastern neighbourhood

Grade: B+
Unity 4/5
Resources 3/5
Strategy 4/5
Impact 3/5
Total 14/20
Scorecard 2015: B+ (15/20)
Scorecard 2014: B- (11/20)
Scorecard 2013: C (8/20)
Scorecard 2012: C (8/20)
Scorecard 2010/11: C- (7/20)

The EU sought to differentiate between eastern neighbourhood countries, while progress by these countries was uneven 

At the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in May, the EU and partners reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening rule of law, human rights, and democracy in the region. At the same time, the summit also agreed on greater “differentiation”, meaning tailor-made policies for each partner. This was taken a step further in November when the Commission presented its reviewed ENP, which defined values as one interest among many, and focused on stabilising the neighbourhood.

In Ukraine, the EU supported President Petro Poroshenko’s government to deliver on reform in key areas such as policing, though there is still some way to go in dealing with corruption, judicial reform, and the oligarchy. The state of democracy and respect for human rights overall improved in Ukraine, with the exception of Crimea and the areas controlled by Russia’s proxies, where the situation remained bleak.

In Moldova, a corruption scandal involving the theft of $1 billion from the country’s banks led to popular protests and the fall of the government. The episode raised fears that the country might veer away from its pro-European path. The EU joined other international donors in freezing budget support for the country.

Azerbaijan clamped down on civil and political rights and imprisoned several human rights defenders, journalists, and political activists. Georgia regressed on media freedom and judicial independence when the government sought to take over the influential opposition-controlled television channel Rustavi 2.

Both Ukraine and Moldovaheld local elections, which broadly met OSCE standards. After Azerbaijan restricted the number of OSCE election observers for the parliamentary elections in November, the organisation refused to send an observation mission.

Belarus took an important step ahead of its presidential elections by releasing all of its political prisoners, but the OSCE still noted significant problems in the vote. The EU lifted most sanctions from Belarus, however, and, for the first time in six years, held a human rights dialogue with Minsk.