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Russia and eastern neighbours

Although the EU’s eastern neighbourhood is of strategic importance, the Union’s relations with the states of the region vary significantly.That said, there are high levels of interdependence between the EU and (virtually all of) its eastern neighbours in a number of different 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 major strands - a strategic relationship with Russia, and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) Policy in its relations with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Russia is the EU’s biggest neighbour – and one of its most important, but also challenging partners. Over the past 15 years, the EU and Russia have developed a deep and complex network of political ties and diplomatic contacts. Yet, Moscow’s actions in Ukraine have greatly strained EU-Russia relations in recent years: tensions around Ukraine now dominate a relationship which once was mostly built on fostering trade and energy cooperation, a security dialogue, and a process that aims at liberalising visas. Elsewhere 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. Such Agreements have been signed and are implemented by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Relations with the other neighbours – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus – are also advancing, but on a more modest scale than the frontrunners.

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  • 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.

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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.

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    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.

  • 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.

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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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  • 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.

  • 22 May 2014

    The EU-Russia Forum, hosted by Carnegie Europe in partnership with the EUISS, convened civil society experts from across Europe, Russia, and the US in Brussels for an exchange of views with EU officials on the current EU-Russian relationship.

  • 24 April 2014

    The second EUISS Task Force on the eastern neighbourhood, this meeting explored possible steps for how the EU could keep Moldova and Georgia on track to complete their EU association deals.

  • 28 March 2014

    In light of the recent turbulence in the east and worsening of EU-Russia relations, the EUISS organised a Task Force meeting on the eastern neighbourhood on 28 March 2014 in Paris.

  • 11 December 2013

    This off-the-record brainstorming session brought together representatives from the EEAS, European Commission, Council of the EU, Permanent Representations of the EU member states and a few selected experts to discuss the future of the Eastern Partnership.

  • 01 December 2010

    Co-hosted with the European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus and with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, this seminar explored the EU’s non-recognition and engagement policy to Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the societal and economic aspects of its soft power approach.

  • 10 November 2010

    The third annual EU-Washington Forum, held on 8-9 November 2010 in Washington DC, addressed the challenge of strengthening the EU-US relationship post Lisbon and explored options for reinvigorating the common agenda.

  • 05 October 2010

    This second seminar in the 'Unfinished business in Europe' series focused on Eastern Europe with a particular emphasis on EU and US approaches to regional relations and domestic transformation in the region.

  • 16 April 2010

    The Institute hosted the seminar titled ‘European Foreign Policy and the Black Sea Region’ on 16 April 2010 as part of the Harvard Black Sea Security Programme 2010. Some of the issues discussed included the respective roles of the EU, Russia and Turkey in the political development of the Black Sea region.

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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.

  • 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.

  • Download document
    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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    29 July 2016

    Both Russia and ISIL/Daesh have engaged in aggressive messaging and deceptive media campaigns, albeit with distinct narratives, targets and audiences. This Report analyses the ‘what’ and the ‘how’; and also draws attention to strategic communications efforts undertaken by the EU.

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    23 June 2016

    April this year saw a flare-up of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict when fighting resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. With the prospect of lasting settlement now more remote than ever, how do both sides see the situation on the ground? And what could be done to avoid further hostilities?

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    23 June 2016

    This Alert assesses the current state of EU-Russia relations. What attempts have been made by the Union to balance confrontation with engagement? Can the newly adopted process of ‘selective engagement’ yield results?

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    23 June 2016

    This Alert analyses the progress of the EAEU 18 months after its launch. The Russian-centric architecture of the union, diverging foreign policy interests and low levels of solidarity are creating internal tensions among the member states. Still, it is too soon to declare the integration efforts a failed project.

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    03 June 2016

    For many years, Beijing left security engagement with Central Asia to Moscow and Washington. However, growing risks for Chinese personnel and investments are causing China to rethink its policy towards the region.

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