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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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    01January 2009
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    EULEX Kosovo is finally up and running after a long planning phase. It began operations on 9 December 2008 and has been breaking new ground for the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) as the EU's largest civilian mission.

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    06November 2008

    So far the European Union has not been very successful in its attempts to apply a strict positive conditionality approach towards Belarus. Since the parliamentary elections in 2000 − the first national elections after the controversial constitutional referendum of 1996 − Belarusian elections have been treated by the EU as a litmus test for the improvement of relations.

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    04November 2008

    This issue of the EUISS newsletter looks at the need to avoid confrontational bipolarity in the wake Georgia conflict, assesses prospects for a regional solution to the Afghanistan conflict, and examines ESDP ten years after the St Malo Anglo-French summit. It also gives a round up of the Institute’s recent seminar series on the European Security Strategy, as well as the latest publications and press clippings.

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    15August 2008

    Despite their recent conflict and its impact on relations with the European Union, the futures of both Georgia and Russia are inextricably linked with Europe. The Director of the EUISS discusses the different European paths of the two countries, and presents a vision for the EU’s interaction with them to build a more secure future for the wider Eurasian continent.

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    12August 2008

    The hostilities between Russia and Georgia reflect a lack of long-term strategic thinking on the part of Russia, which is jeopardising relations with the West in order to assert itself as a global power, as well a political climate of increasing nationalism in Georgia. Neither of these factors is constructive in resolving the conflicts over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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    14February 2008

    Where is Ukraine going? As this Chaillot Paper endeavours to show, Ukraine itself has great potential to either stabilise or destabilise the region. Therefore, the question of Ukraine’s future orientation is of crucial importance for European security in general.

  • 18January 2008

    The Russia Task Force Meeting on 18 January 2008 was the first of two meetings dealing with the Russian Parliamentary and Presidential elections, and their implications for Russian foreign policy, and Russia-EU relations in particular.

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    01December 2007

    The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) framework obliges the EU to coordinate closely with Georgia on its policies for conflict resolution in the breakaway entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Brussels and Tbilisi do not share the same time perspective, however.

  • 15October 2007

    This was the first in a series of EUISS seminars on the 'frozen conflicts' in the EU's Eastern neighbourhood. After taking stock of the current situation in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Georgia, it focused on confidence-building measures and the prospects for deeper engagement by the EU.

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    01October 2007

    Over the last ten years, the EU Special Representatives (EUSRs) have pioneered EU foreign policy in countries and regions of direct interest to the Union. EUSRs are a face of the Union, enhancing its visibility, and they give it a voice, seeking to deliver a single message to local and international partners, playing an important role in EU foreign policy.

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    01May 2003

    Despite the crisis in Iraq, President Vladimir Putin has accelerated a strategy of alignment between Russia and the states and security organisations of the Euro-Atlantic community. In this, Moscow has dropped previously held notions of multipolarity in which Russia figured as an independent, if enfeebled, ‘pole’, balancing off other ‘poles’ in international affairs.

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    01January 2003

    Lancé lors d’une réunion des ministres des affaires étrangères, le Pacte de stabilité a vu le jour en juin 1999. Cette nouvelle structure a pour ambition d’accompagner les Balkans pendant la période transitoire précédant leur intégration dans les structures euro-atlantiques.

  • 01September 2002

    The year following 11 September witnessed Russian movement on a wide front. In the flurry, however, the origins of Russian shifts have been obscured. It is worth recalling that they reside not so much in September 2001 as in 1999. 11 September was an accelerator, not a turning point.

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    01September 2002

    The official Polish position on the future of the European Union is characterised above all by continuity and evolution. ... Following a period of ‘uninformed enthusiasm’ in the formulation of the official position,the Polish government is trying to anticipate the role that Poland may play as a future member,albeit a member of somewhat limited potential.

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    01September 2002

    One year on, the only thing that is systematic about the international system is its disorder. The United States, shaken to the core by the terrorist attacks and the fraud perpetrated by leaders of globalised companies, is relentlessly pursuing its course down the path of unilateralism.

  • 01May 2002

    One could have been forgiven for thinking that little had changed since the 1980s when, in late February, thousands of pro-Romanian demonstrators took to the streets of Chisinau, Moldova's capital, to protest against government measures seen as pro-Russian.

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    01May 2002

    Many observers have mocked the divisions among Europeans, their absence and therefore their impotence, in the search for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But that is to forget that it is above all the strongest player who lacks the will to act, and that today it is in particular in the European theatre that the Union’s performance, or lack of it, should be judged.

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    01March 2002

    Just as Königsberg became known for its intellectual weight, symbolised by the brain-twister how to cross the city's seven bridges without passing one of them twice; Kaliningrad is notorious for the immense problems it has to deal with, perhaps mirrored by the inconclusive ways the EU and the Kremlin are figuring out how to assist the oblast.

  • 01February 2002

    Due to its history, location, and its position as a backward region in the midst of the Baltic Sea region, the Russian autonomous province of Kaliningrad is arguably the most controversial entity in post-Cold War Europe. It is an exclave cut-off from mainland Russia by Lithuania and Poland.

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    01February 2002

    Having devoted the last quarter of 2001 to negotiations on a whole corpus of legal, administrative, social and financial provisions, the Institute is once again operational as an autonomous agency of the Union, financed by the fifteen Member States but still completely independent in the choice of issues it works on and its output.

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