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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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  • 24February 2006

    On 24 February 2006, the Institute organised a high-level seminar on whether the EU can have a policy towards the Black Sea region and develop a region-wide strategy and, if so, how and in which areas.

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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.

  • 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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