Russia and Eastern Europe
Ireland’s bilateral relations with Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union are co-ordinated within the Department’s Political Division and have significantly increased in recent years. These relations are being developed in parallel with an increased EU focus, since the 2004 enlargement, on its neighbours to the East. The mechanism by which the EU relates to most of the region is the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which also covers a number of southern neighbours of the EU. The Eastern Partnership of the ENP, which was launched in Prague in May 2009, aims to further enhance relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. The Division monitors political developments in these countries and coordinates Ireland’s contribution to discussions at EU level, in particular through the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
In this context, Political Division works very closely with the Embassies in Moscow, Prague (Ukraine), Sofia (Georgia and Armenia), Ankara (Azerbaijan), Bucharest (Moldova) and Vilnius (Belarus) in addition to working with our Embassies in a number of other new EU Member States. Political, trade and economic links are being developed with the non-EU countries of Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine) and the South Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia).
Developments in the countries of the Central Asia region (Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) are also of interest to the EU, to Ireland as a Member State and to the OSCE, and are monitored by Political Division. An EU Central Asia Strategy was adopted at the June 2007 European Council and forms the framework for the EU’s cooperation with the region. Ireland will assume the Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2012.