Over the last few months, Russia has employed a number of economic and security measures to derail the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the EU and Ukraine. Russia’s opposition to the Agreement was based on the argument that it would damage its economy and weaken its trade ties with Ukraine. Russia’s actions ultimately led to war in Ukraine, but did not succeed in reversing Ukraine’s EU integration policies; instead there are now trilateral negotiations between the EU, Ukraine and Russia on mere technical trade aspects of the DCFTA.
The Kremlin is using similar rhetoric and, to some extent, similar coercive measures against the DCFTAs with Moldova and Georgia. But the small scale of Moldovan and Georgian trade with Russia is not a legitimate reason for the EU to replicate the Ukraine ‘trialogue’ on the DCFTAs in these countries. Instead, Moldova’s heavy dependence on Russia’s energy and the former’s transit role for the EU offers a greater possibility to set up trilateral negotiations, similar to the recently finalised gas trialogue between the EU, Ukraine and Russia.
Gela Merabishvili is a Research Assistant at CEPS.