Lithuania has come far since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite Moscow’s best efforts to preserve old ties, holding the EU presidency will firmly weld Vilnius to the West.
If Iran could easily turn to other commercial outlets, it already would be using them. Indeed, despite the recent tensions, an Iran-Georgia trade forum went ahead in early July, with business meetings and a product exhibition.
Riga demonstrated that it was a credible and trustworthy economic partner with its tough austerity program in 2008 and 2009, which brought the country out of a serious economic crash.
The Kazakh government sees its future in the West. Political reform in Kazakhstan is necessary not only for its own sake, but also for Astana to take full advantage of expanding economic opportunities.
Holding officials accountable for abusing their positions is critical; nevertheless, democracy will be forever unstable and insecure if the victors use their newly acquired powers to prosecute (or persecute) their opponents.
Moldova’s expanded economic ties with the EU, in particular, offer the prospect of increased trade and investment, and thus growth.
Georgia’s political development will be smoother if the two leaders reach a modus vivendi in which a vigorous opposition is able to operate freely, irrespective of the party in power. The people of Georgia deserve no less.
Ironically, improved ties with Moscow are Tbilisi’s only chance of entering NATO. Despite the alliance’s formal welcome mat, there is little enthusiasm for courting conflict with Russia.
Riga has garnered widespread support within Europe, which is desperate to shore up the besieged currency. However, Riga’s entry looks like rats running onto a sinking ship to many Latvians.
Europe is tired of the Gazprom monopoly and isn’t going to take it any more. At least, that appears to be the message from Lithuania, which will take over the European Union’s rotating presidency in July.