Although the European Dialogue on Modernisation with Belarus has just kicked off, it has already faced a barrage of criticism from both Belarusian and European experts. Nevertheless, despite its somewhat vague nature and equivocal objectives, it seems to stand a chance of turning into an efficient platform for a variety of stakeholders to communicate and has a potential for drawing attention to Belarusian issues in the European political scene. It is getting more and more obvious that the European Union’s eastern policy fails to bear the fruit that its architects intended to reap. The Eastern Partnership, which was officially launched in 2009, has very serious issues. Its prime objective – to encourage Eastern European states and the South Caucasus to gravitate towards Europe by employing a policy of political conditionality – has not been achieved this far, and this is especially apparent in the case of Belarus. However, judging by the developments observed in the past 24 months, Ukraine has also been making headway towards a stronger authoritarian regime, i.e. away from the European Union. These trends naturally disillusion European policy-makers and cause them to lose their interest in the eastern policy as a whole, as it will hardly become a “success story” in the foreseeable future or yield political dividends for its promoters.
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