TEPSA Debate: “COVID-19: What do Eastern Partnership countries make out of EU support?”, 17 June 2020


TEPSA organised an online discussion on COVID-19: What do Eastern Partnership countries make out of EU support?

China is highly visible across Europe as supplier of medical gear and coronavirus tests, occasionally welcomed by Heads of State in airport appearances. Russian-inspired conspiracy theories on COVID-19 circulate widely, together with narratives on Europe’s inability to cope and to support its neighbours. Meanwhile, the EU and its Member States are providing medical supplies as well as hundreds of millions of euros in grants and even more in loans to its Eastern partners. But how do Ukrainian or Georgian governments use European support? What meaning does European support have in political discourse, is it seen as effective and well-administered, and where does money actually flow?

Ahead of the upcoming EU-EaP Leaders’ videoconference and following the recent communication and Council conclusions on Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020, this TEPSA Debate, hosted virtually due to the COVID-19 situation, focused on concrete ways in which Ukraine and Georgia have so far used EU support. What have been success stories, and where should the EU and partner governments do better as they try to support a recovery from COVID-19 and from the associated economic shock?

The event took place via Zoom on Wednesday 17 June from 10:30 to 12:00 and featured presentations by the following experts:

  • Giorgi Khishtovani, Research Director, PMC Research Center
  • Volodymyr Sidenko, Senior Research Fellow, Razumkov Centre
  • Kataryna Wolzcuk, Professor of East European Politics, University of Birmingham
  • Mathieu Bousquet, Head of Unit for Georgia, Moldova and Neighbourhood Cross-border Cooperation, DG NEAR
  • Julda Kielyte, Team Leader, Economic and Fiscal Reforms, Support Group for Ukraine, DG NEAR
  • Kateryna Zarembo, Associate Fellow at the New Europe Center
  • Ryhor Nizhnikau, Senior Research Fellow, Finish Institute of International Affairs
  • Moderator: Tobias Schumacher, Chair of European Neighborhood Policy at the College of Europe in Natolin