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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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    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?

  • 19October 2009

    This book breaks new ground by providing the first comprehensive review of every ESDP operation to date. It explains how the EU institutions responsible for international crisis management have developed and functioned, reviews the civil and military resources available to the ESDP, and analyses the key partnerships between the EU and other international organisations.

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    10September 2009

    It came as no surprise to hear Turkish and Armenian policymakers announce that they are launching final talks to establish diplomatic relations. This is the third move towards normalisation – after football diplomacy and the April 2009 road map – which has resulted from Swiss-mediated talks behind the scenes. The new framework proposes the signature of two protocols on the establishment of diplomatic ties and the development of bilateral relations.

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    13February 2009

    The new gas deal is a step forward in ending a period of ‘special’ energy relations between Kyiv and Moscow. A more transparent gas import scheme to Ukraine and the convergence of import prices with those in the EU definitely make rent-seeking activities less likely.

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    20January 2009

    This collaborative effort of the EUISS research team highlights what it considers to be the major political event of 2009: the election of President Barack Obama and the impact that the change in the American administration will have on the world. It covers the priority areas for US-EU cooperation of global governance, climate change, disarmament and non-proliferation, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and transatlantic relations.

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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.

  • 01January 2005

    Events in Ukraine reflect the changes occurring in Europe and pose a new ‘eastern question’. The first story relates the birth of a revitalised Ukraine. The two candidates in the elections, Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych, in themselves do not signal this birth – but 17 days of peaceful demonstrations in Kyiv and other cities do, as does the decision of the Ukrainian Supreme Court to call for a new second round on 26 December.

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    01January 2005

    The Cold War is finally ending in Europe and the shape of a new order is becoming visible. Europe’s institutional structure is different from the bipolar era or even the transition years of the 1990s. The European Union is emerging as the Continent’s primary security provider. With enlargement in 2004, a new Europe has been born, founded around the ambitions and values of the EU.

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    01June 2004

    With its mosaic of problems, and their potential consequences, the wider Black Sea region is one of the more important challenges that the enlarged European Union will face.

  • 01April 2004

    The results of Russia's presidential elections on 14 March held no surprises. The incumbent Vladimir Putin received 71 per cent of the vote, followed far behind by the Communist Party candidate, Nikolai Kharitonov , Sergei Glazyev and the liberal Irina Khakamada.

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    01March 2004

    An analysis on Russia first published in the Washington Quarterly on Russia-EU relations, by Dov Lynch.

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    01December 2003

    The South Caucasus contains three states that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Geographically, the region is populated by some fifteen million people, and links the Caspian Sea basin to the Black Sea on the east-to-west axis, and is the juncture between the greater Middle East, Turkey and Iran, and the Russian Federation.

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    01November 2003

    EU enlargement raises important questions: How much further can the EU enlarge? Should the EU encompass geographic ‘Europe’ or stop at the western border of the CIS? Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) clearly allows any geographically based European state to apply for membership.

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    01July 2003

    EU-Russian security cooperation remains nascent, but some important ground has been cleared since 2000. Yet, the dialogue is neither without ambiguity or problems. It is replete with both. This Occasional Paper examines three facets of EU-Russia security relations.

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    01June 2003

    During the last year, the Institute has participated in a consortium of policy research organisations in the United States, Europe, Russia and Asia that aims to strengthen the G-8’s ‘Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction’ initiative. The consortium, led by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS, Washington, DC), seeks to support and promote cooperative threat reduction (CTR) activities.

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