Women in International Security (WIIS) Romania in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Open Society- Georgia Foundation hosted an expert debate: Euro-Atlantic Policy towards Eastern Europe: In Urgent Need of Another Reset. The meeting took place on February 26, 2011, Tbilisi Marriott hotel and was led by Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Transatlantic Fellow from German Marshall Fund.
The debate aimed at identifying the current state and deficits in transatlantic policy toward Eastern Europe and reinvigorate the policy discussion on the Eastern neighborhood of the transatlantic community. Discussions included reference to Constanze Stelzenmüller’ latest paper “Walk-but Learn to Chew the Gum Too, After the Russo-Georgian War of 2008: Transatlantic Approaches to a New Eastern Policy.”
Current European and transatlantic policy toward Eastern Europe lacks a strategic vision for the Eastern neighborhood of the Euro-Atlantic community, and political will to put aside diverging interests of individual Western countries in favor of the common goal of anchoring the region solidly in European and transatlantic institutions.
These deficits weigh heavily on the relationship between the Euro-Atlantic community and its Eastern neighbors. Integration with EU and NATO has come to a halt, and programs such as the Eastern Partnership or Black Sea Synergy have largely remained on paper. Instead, political and public support for democratic and market reforms is diminishing across the region, anti-European and anti-Western sentiment are on the rise, and Russia is exploiting the emerging vacuum to renew its political and economic domination over its “near abroad”.
There is an urgent need, therefore, to develop a coherent and effective European and transatlantic policy for the Eastern European neighborhood. Without it, the EU cannot establish itself as a relevant and credible player in the region. More importantly, only this can empower domestic democrats in Eastern Europe to push for much-needed reforms. Only if it musters the energy for such a policy reset, can the transatlantic community hope to achieve its old but as yet unattained vision of a Europe whole and free.
Constanze Stelzenmüller has been a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at German Marshall Fund (GMF) since 2009. Before, she served as a Director of GMF’s Berlin office for four years.
From 1994 until 2005 Constanze Stelzenmüller was an editor in the political section of the Hamburg weekly DIE ZEIT. From 1998 onward, she was defense and international security editor; previously she covered human rights issues, humanitarian crises in Africa and the Balkans, as well as international criminal tribunals. Constanze Stelzenmüller holds a doctorate in law from the University of Bonn (1992), a Master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1988), and a first state examination in law from the University of Bonn (1985). From 1988-1989, she was a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. She was a GMF Fellow at Grinnell College in Iowa, a Woodrow Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar in Washington, DC, and a member of the Remarque Forum (a conference series of the Remarque Institute at New York University).
Constanze Stelzenmüller’s dissertation (“Direkte Demokratie in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika”) was published in 1994 by Nomos. Essays and articles by her have appeared at GMF publications, as well as in Foreign Affairs, Internationale Politik, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribuna and Suddeutsche Zeitung.