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Russia and eastern neighbours

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.

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    19 June 2017

    This Report presents a number of grey swan scenarios which are designed to help decision-makers think about possible responses to crises and how they can be prevented. They cover a wide variety of geographical and operational situations while never explicitly calling into question specific EU actions or policies – only general EU principles and interests.

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    29 May 2017

    As well as introducing new decisions and actions in the field of security and defence, the EU Global Strategy (EUGS) stresses the imperative to build resilience in the EU neighbouring countries and surrounding regions.

  • 03 May 2017

    The roundtable discussion looked into the concept of a newly emerging partnership between Russia and China. Speakers identified certain areas of rapprochement between the two countries, but overall concluded that the differences outweigh them, and that there is no new actual new Eastern Partnership formed yet.

  • 03 May 2017

    In 2017, for the third year running, the EU-Russia Forum was co-hosted by the EUISS and supported by the EEAS. The forum convened senior officials and experts from across Europe, Russia, and the United States to evaluate the current state of EU-Russia relations and propose ways forward.

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    29 March 2017

    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.

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    29 March 2017

    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?

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    15 March 2017

    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.

  • 08 March 2017

    On 8 March, the EUISS and DG NEAR jointly organised a Seminar on building resilience in the EU’s surrounding regions. The Seminar brought together experts from Europe’s Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods, as well as European institutions to explore the challenges and opportunities in building resilience in the EU’s surrounding regions.

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    15 February 2017

    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.

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    09 December 2016

    In summer 2016, two unexpected events brought the issue of power transition to the top of the agenda in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This Alert analyses how both transitions entail risks for Central Asia’s stability, but also potentially open up opportunities for further domestic liberalisation and regional cooperation.

Pages

Pages

  • 03 May 2017

    The roundtable discussion looked into the concept of a newly emerging partnership between Russia and China. Speakers identified certain areas of rapprochement between the two countries, but overall concluded that the differences outweigh them, and that there is no new actual new Eastern Partnership formed yet.

  • 03 May 2017

    In 2017, for the third year running, the EU-Russia Forum was co-hosted by the EUISS and supported by the EEAS. The forum convened senior officials and experts from across Europe, Russia, and the United States to evaluate the current state of EU-Russia relations and propose ways forward.

  • 08 March 2017

    On 8 March, the EUISS and DG NEAR jointly organised a Seminar on building resilience in the EU’s surrounding regions. The Seminar brought together experts from Europe’s Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods, as well as European institutions to explore the challenges and opportunities in building resilience in the EU’s surrounding regions.

  • 25 November 2016

    On 25 October, the EUISS, in collaboration with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the EU External Action Service (EEAS), gathered analysts and experts in a workshop to discuss the challenges and dilemmas of Russia’s political agenda.

  • 15 December 2015

    On 15 December 2015, the EUISS hosted the third and final meeting of the Task Force on Russian futures at its headquarters in Paris.

  • 22 October 2015

    The second meeting of the EUISS Task Force on Russia’s Futures took place on the 22nd of October 2015 in Brussels.

  • 24 September 2015

    On 24 September, EUISS launched a Task Force on Russia's futures. The Task Force aims to explore the horizon 2020–2025 by creating a core group of experts on Russian politics who will then generate a report about key trends by the end of next year.

  • 06 November 2014

    In partnership with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the EUISS presented the abridged German version of its Yearbook of European of European Security 2014 on 6 November in the Austrian capital.

  • 11 September 2014

    The EUISS held its annual conference on 11/12 September in central Paris. This year’s event, entitled ‘European security in a changing global environment’, was an opportunity to convene numerous policy planners and think tankers from across the Europe to discuss European security during a period of major institutional change within the Union.

  • 18 June 2014

    The second EUISS Task Force on the eastern neighbourhood, this meeting explored the future of the Eurasian Union and possible steps forward for Ukraine following the election of President Poroshenko.

Pages

Pages

  • Download document
    19 June 2017

    This Report presents a number of grey swan scenarios which are designed to help decision-makers think about possible responses to crises and how they can be prevented. They cover a wide variety of geographical and operational situations while never explicitly calling into question specific EU actions or policies – only general EU principles and interests.

  • Download document
    29 May 2017

    As well as introducing new decisions and actions in the field of security and defence, the EU Global Strategy (EUGS) stresses the imperative to build resilience in the EU neighbouring countries and surrounding regions.

  • Download document
    29 March 2017

    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.

  • Download document
    29 March 2017

    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?

  • Download document
    15 March 2017

    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.

  • Download document
    15 February 2017

    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.

  • Download document
    09 December 2016

    In summer 2016, two unexpected events brought the issue of power transition to the top of the agenda in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This Alert analyses how both transitions entail risks for Central Asia’s stability, but also potentially open up opportunities for further domestic liberalisation and regional cooperation.

  • Download document
    09 December 2016

    Russia’s recent actions in eastern Europe and significant military build-up along its Western border and in the enclave of Kaliningrad has rattled many nerves. This Brief explores how, as a consequence, all the countries in the Nordic-Baltic region are now rearming.

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    03 November 2016

    This Alert looks at how and why Russia is developing alternative historical narratives. Moscow hopes to achieve two goals: to propagate a black-and-white version of the past that it can deploy in foreign policy and, more importantly, to minimise the chances of domestic unrest by inhibiting freedom of thought.

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    05 October 2016

    With Georgians set to go to the polls on Saturday 8 October, this Brief examines the changing dynamics of the country’s domestic politics and foreign relations over the last few years. What should be the priority for whoever wins the next parliamentary elections?

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