This new Commentary by Michael Emerson and Hrant Kostanyan shows how the pressure exerted by President Putin on Armenia to withdraw from the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement it had negotiated with the EU and to join the Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia customs union is but the most recent in a long series of ongoing moves by Russia to destroy the Eastern Partnership. In their view, the message to be hammered home to those unsure of the economic arguments is that you do not have to have an exclusive customs union to enjoy deep integration for goods, services, people and capital, and of course even less for hard security relationships. High-quality free trade agreements are the logical instrument for those who want excellent relations with more than one big neighbour.
Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS. Hrant Kostanyan is an Associate Research Fellow at CEPS and a BOF (Special Research Fund) Research Fellow at the Centre for EU Studies (CEUS) in the Department of Political Science at Ghent University.