Eastern Partnership and the Preferences of New EU Member States

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This paper tries to shed some light on factors influencing the positions of the new member states of the EU on Eastern Partnership in its initial phase. It utilises an analytical approach developed by Copsey and Haughton (2009) and argues that the two most important factors affecting positioning of newcomers towards the initiative are: perceived size and geography. While the new members were especially keen to support their immediate neighbours, they were using a common policy towards these countries to increase their presence and influence in the region since the initiative helped them to deal with neighbourhood issues they were not able to solve on their own. The paper suggests an amendment to the theoretical approach and proposes an assumption explaining positioning of the member states towards the third countries that better reflect the empirical evidence than the original framework. Moreover, the research showed that Poland differed from the rest of the new EU countries, was much more active and influential and rather resembled the old members. However, due to its not very positive image (caused by its assertive approach and strong effort to play a prominent role within the EU) its influence within the EU was limited and, therefore it proposed the Eastern Partnership together with Sweden that held a much better image.

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