EU to promote democratic reforms in post-Soviet countries

The European Union is offering a package of financial aid and free trade pacts to six former Soviet states in return for democratic and market reforms.

The 27 nation bloc will provide some 350 million euros to support state institutions and small companies. It also wants to boost cooperation on energy.
 
The recipients are Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Belarus.

The president of the European Commission said the move gained urgency following the conflict in South Ossetia.

He also noted that Moscow shouldn't be concerned about the plan.

“We have said clearly that the Cold War is over. And when there is no Cold War there are no more spheres of influence. We are against the idea of spheres of interest; we believe that it’s a wrong concept of the past period. All the counties have the right to decide which way they should go. Regarding to these countries, it’s obvious that they have ties with Russia and, I believe, Russia also has an interest in their stability,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.