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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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    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.

  • 11September 2002

    A seminar on 'The EU and Russia: a Security Partnership?', in association with the Russia and Eurasia Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, took place at the Institute on 25 March 2002.

  • 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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