An agency of the EU

Overview

Russia and the eastern neighbourhood are both key foreign policy priority areas for the European Union. The EU faces increasing levels of interdependence with these regions in a multitude of spheres - from trade and energy flows, to the joint management of security challenges and migration. The EU develops its policies in the region along two strands – a strategic partnership with Russia, and the European Neighbourhood Policy/Eastern Partnership policy in its relations with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.    

Russia is the biggest neighbour of the European Union - and one of its most important, but also challenging partners. The EU and Russia share not only the same neighbourhood, but also a large number of global and regional security challenges. Over the past 15 years, the EU and Russia have developed a deep and complex network of political institutions and diplomatic contacts. Currently the relationship is centred around issues concerning trade and energy cooperation, a security dialogue, and a process that aims at liberalising visas between Russia and the EU with a view to bolster tourism, trade and people to people contacts. However, the relationship is often constrained, or does not fulfil its potential due to divergences over Russian domestic political developments as well as over stances on international events - from the uprisings in the Middle East to the Eastern Partnership or secessionist conflicts in the post-Soviet space. 

In the eastern neighbourhood, the cornerstones of the EU policy are the Association Agreements, which contain provisions on the establishment of deep and comprehensive free trade areas. However, several Eastern partners are under pressure not to advance too far in their relations with the EU and consider joining other post-soviet integration initiatives like the Eurasian Union. Other significant EU policy initiatives are related to on-going efforts to contribute to peace and stability in Moldova and the South Caucasus, liberalise visas, develop energy links or contribute to support for democratic processes and good-governance in selected Eastern Partnership states.

Publications

  • After the EU Global Strategy – Building resilience

    As the EUGS approaches its first anniversary, and shortly before the release of a Joint Communication on resilience by the EEAS and the Commission, this volume, the second in the EUISS post-EUGS series, seeks to shed more light on the different definitions of the concept and how these may be applied in specific functional and geographic areas.

  • Azerbaijan: drifts and shifts

    This Alert looks at Azerbaijan’s autocratic and assertive domestic turn, and explains the potential risks of the rebalancing of its foreign policy priorities by the ruling elites.

  • Armenia: Russia first, EU second?

    Following recent constitutional changes, Armenians are set to go to the polls on 2 April to vote in parliamentary elections. What role does Russia play in the country's politics? And is there room to expand relations with the EU?

  • No Trump cards for Moscow

    Much of the current analysis of future US-Russia relations is focused on Trump’s presumed instincts and intentions towards Moscow. This Alert argues that the president’s policies towards China, Iran, energy and defence are all likely to present Russia with a difficult dilemma.

  • China and Russia: an Eastern partnership in the making?

    This Chaillot Paper sets out to evaluate the scope and the actual implementation of the ‘pivot to the East’ announced by Moscow in the wake of its confrontation with the West over Ukraine. The paper highlights the areas of convergence and divergence between Moscow and Beijing, the asymmetries in interests and resources, and their wider implications for Russia’s policy in Asia – thus providing an insightful and balanced assessment of bilateral relations and their ‘systemic’ impact.