Poland will host an Eastern Partnership (EP) summit Sept. 29-30. The summit will be an opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of the EP, an initiative meant to bring six former Soviet states — Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan — closer to the European Union. The summit will also have political significance for Poland both internationally and domestically.
Not only is Poland one of the EP’s founders, along with Sweden, but it also currently holds the rotating EU presidency. Many of Poland’s main goals for its presidency, such as facilitating greater cohesion funds for Belarus, which has been the hardest country for Poland to woo. Polish President Bronislaw Komoroski, along with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, traveled to Belarus on the eve of the former Soviet country’s presidential elections in December 2010 and offered Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko $4 billion in aid if the elections were held freely and fairly. Instead, claims of rigging arose after the vote, and Lukashenko cracked down on the ensuing opposition protests, leading to EU sanctions rather than financial assistance.