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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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  • 10November 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.

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    22October 2010

    In this quarter's issue of the newsletter, EUISS director Álvaro de Vasconcelos, explores the increasing inter-connection of actors beyond the big powers, F. Stephen Larrabee highlights the work yet to be done by the EU in the Balkans and the Eastern neighbourhood, and Luis Peral considers the EU's responsibility within the International Criminal Court.

  • 05October 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.

  • 16April 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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    12April 2010

    In a historic ceremony on 7 April 2010, the Prime Ministers of Poland and Russia marked the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre during which Soviet secret police executed thousands of Polish prisoners of war and buried them in mass graves alongside victims of the Stalinist purges.  The belated gesture represented an unprecedented step towards a process of reconciliation between the two nations, one that would never have begun without an acknowledgement of Soviet responsibility for the atrocity.  Polish and Russian commentators were optimistic, and expectations abounded of a new era in Ru

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    09April 2010

    The New START, a bilateral nuclear arms reduction treaty, aims to significantly reduce the weapons stockpiles of both the US and Russia. While it may be seen as a positive step towards disarmament and for US-Russia relations, getting it past the US Senate is Obama’s next big challenge, writes Jean Pascal Zanders.

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    07April 2010

    Articles in this current issue: "After Lisbon: the States of the Union", "The EU and natural gas: the new security agenda", and "Obama's first year: a transformational presidency?"

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    12November 2009

    The Russian-Georgian war of 2008 induced a thaw in relations between Brussels and Minsk, yet relations with Belarus continue to be a headache for the European Union. Chaillot Paper No.119 aims to provide in-depth empirical analysis on Belarus which, due to its long-standing isolation, remains a blank spot on the European map.

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    09November 2009

    On 30 October, three elderly statesmen met to congratulate each other on the role they played in Germany’s reunification: Helmut Kohl, Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. They all all their own reasons for doing so. The Russian President had ruled out the use of violence to keep the Soviet empire intact. He just let go and, with the fall of the Wall, the most dramatic event which closed the twentieth century, the whole Soviet empire collapsed, and in a domino effect that spread with breathtaking speed the regimes of Eastern European bloc countries were toppled one after another.

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    04November 2009

    'The Obama Moment' provides an authoritative analysis of the most topical global questions of our time: multilateralism, the economy, disarmament and climate change. Will the election of Obama facilitate enhanced transatlantic co-operation in dealing with these and other challenges?

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    01September 2007

    By introducing the Wider Europe concept and the European Neighborhood Policy, the European Union has actually entered a region which Russia has long considered the sphere of its national interests. The Occasional Paper explores the resultant ‘zero-sum game’.

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    01May 2007

    Lorsque les mondes figés de la Guerre froide et de la Détente se sont effondrés pour donner naissance à une nouvelle Europe, s’est posée la question de savoir quelle relation allaient bien pouvoir entretenir les deux puissances contraintes désormais de se partager pacifiquement un continent : l’Union européenne et la Russie.

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    01July 2006

    For much of the 1990s, Central Asia was not on the EU radar screen. Lately, however, it has started to matter for the EU. The ongoing European military commitment in Afghanistan, the events in Andijan in Uzbekistan, the violent change of power in Kyrgyzstan – all highlight a highly volatile region.

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    29May 2006

    The European Union Institute for Security Studies was given the role of deepening cooperation with the Russian academic community in the field of crisis management. This paper is a first product of this joint research project. The objective here was for Professor Nikitin to explore in a frank manner how Russian elites and observers view the EU, ESDP and key security developments around Russia.

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    01April 2006

    The OSCE is in crisis. There can be no doubt but that the OSCE today, as compared to its heyday during the Cold War and in the mid-1990s, is a far less visible landmark on the European institutional landscape than was formerly the case.

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    01February 2006

    The Rose Revolution of 2003 may have brought fragile democracy to this former Soviet republic, but the country remains bedevilled by institutional weakness and internal conflicts. This Chaillot Paper evaluates the EU’s stakes in Georgia as well as the security challenges it poses, and presents ways forward for EU engagement to strengthen this strategically important state.

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    18January 2006

    The appointment of a new EU Special Representative towards the South Caucasus offers an opportunity to review EU policy towards the region. The following analysis is an extract of a Chaillot Paper, entitled 'Why Georgia Matters', focusing on how the EU can sharpen its policy towards Georgia in particular.

  • 08November 2005

    That the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party won in the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan on Sunday was no surprise. The good news is that the election was far less fraudulent than the last, even though the OSCE reported that the voting fell short of international standards. Much now hangs in the balance for this Caspian Republic

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    01November 2005

    The existence of Belarus - Europe's 'last dictatorship' - on its borders poses a problem for the newly enlarged EU. The authoritarian regime in Belarus may be fearful of the changes that have recently occurred in its vicinity yet it continues to rule with confidence.

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    26October 2005
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    In November 2004, the EU set forth a new framework for policy towards Belarus. The regional context around Belarus has since changed dramatically, with an enlarged EU, a 'revolutionary' Ukraine, a more defensive Russia and more active US. EU policy may be strengthened to reflect and work with these changes.

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