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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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    11May 2011

    While the current focus of EU foreign policy is firmly trained on its southern neighbourhood, this paper explains why the EU should not forget about the long-simmering disputes in its Eastern neighbourhood – disputes which might once again require EU responses in the future.

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    18January 2011

    In this quarter's issue, The Economist's Anton La Guardia proposes a unique role for the EU in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Nicola Casarini says the EU should get more involved in East Asia, and Álvaro de Vasconcelos forwards the case for better preventing conflict.

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    06December 2010

    A thaw in the frosty EU-Russia relationship has been occurring over the last year. But with Russia’s cheerier tone being buoyed by strategic gains in its neighbourhood, the EU should be under no illusion about Russia’s agenda.

  • 01December 2010

    In this piece, the author ponders on how the high-speed Sapsan trains can be seens as a parable of the Russian leadership's superficial notion of modernisation.

  • 01December 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.

  • 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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    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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    01October 2005

    A key objective of the European Union is to have a stable, secure, prosperous and democratic neighbourhood. Failing an offer of accession to close neighbours in the medium term, the EU should and can offer stronger CFSP engagement.

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    01July 2005

    With the European Union’s 2004 round of enlargement, its neighbourhood now stretches from the Balkans to the Southern Caucasus, and from Russia to the Southern Mediterranean. This new neighbourhood suffers from serious deficits in terms of security, development and democracy, which constitute a serious challenge for the EU’s own security.

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