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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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    15 February 2017

    This Chaillot Paper sets out to evaluate the scope and the actual implementation of the ‘pivot to the East’ announced by Moscow in the wake of its confrontation with the West over Ukraine. The paper highlights the areas of convergence and divergence between Moscow and Beijing, the asymmetries in interests and resources, and their wider implications for Russia’s policy in Asia – thus providing an insightful and balanced assessment of bilateral relations and their ‘systemic’ impact.

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    09 December 2016

    In summer 2016, two unexpected events brought the issue of power transition to the top of the agenda in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This Alert analyses how both transitions entail risks for Central Asia’s stability, but also potentially open up opportunities for further domestic liberalisation and regional cooperation.

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    09 December 2016

    Russia’s recent actions in eastern Europe and significant military build-up along its Western border and in the enclave of Kaliningrad has rattled many nerves. This Brief explores how, as a consequence, all the countries in the Nordic-Baltic region are now rearming.

  • 25 November 2016

    On 25 October, the EUISS, in collaboration with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the EU External Action Service (EEAS), gathered analysts and experts in a workshop to discuss the challenges and dilemmas of Russia’s political agenda.

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    03 November 2016

    This Alert looks at how and why Russia is developing alternative historical narratives. Moscow hopes to achieve two goals: to propagate a black-and-white version of the past that it can deploy in foreign policy and, more importantly, to minimise the chances of domestic unrest by inhibiting freedom of thought.

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    05 October 2016

    With Georgians set to go to the polls on Saturday 8 October, this Brief examines the changing dynamics of the country’s domestic politics and foreign relations over the last few years. What should be the priority for whoever wins the next parliamentary elections?

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    29 July 2016

    Both Russia and ISIL/Daesh have engaged in aggressive messaging and deceptive media campaigns, albeit with distinct narratives, targets and audiences. This Report analyses the ‘what’ and the ‘how’; and also draws attention to strategic communications efforts undertaken by the EU.

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    23 June 2016

    April this year saw a flare-up of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict when fighting resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. With the prospect of lasting settlement now more remote than ever, how do both sides see the situation on the ground? And what could be done to avoid further hostilities?

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    23 June 2016

    This Alert assesses the current state of EU-Russia relations. What attempts have been made by the Union to balance confrontation with engagement? Can the newly adopted process of ‘selective engagement’ yield results?

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    23 June 2016

    This Alert analyses the progress of the EAEU 18 months after its launch. The Russian-centric architecture of the union, diverging foreign policy interests and low levels of solidarity are creating internal tensions among the member states. Still, it is too soon to declare the integration efforts a failed project.

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    23 June 2016

    April this year saw a flare-up of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict when fighting resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. With the prospect of lasting settlement now more remote than ever, how do both sides see the situation on the ground? And what could be done to avoid further hostilities?

  • Download document
    23 June 2016

    This Alert assesses the current state of EU-Russia relations. What attempts have been made by the Union to balance confrontation with engagement? Can the newly adopted process of ‘selective engagement’ yield results?

  • Download document
    23 June 2016

    This Alert analyses the progress of the EAEU 18 months after its launch. The Russian-centric architecture of the union, diverging foreign policy interests and low levels of solidarity are creating internal tensions among the member states. Still, it is too soon to declare the integration efforts a failed project.

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    03 June 2016

    For many years, Beijing left security engagement with Central Asia to Moscow and Washington. However, growing risks for Chinese personnel and investments are causing China to rethink its policy towards the region.

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    07 April 2016

    This Report is the outcome of an EUISS Task Force that convened throughout the autumn and winter of 2015 to develop scenarios for Russia’s future. The publication is divided into two parts: one dedicated to the domestic arena – focusing on the economic, military and political dimensions, and the other dealing with future Russian relations with the US, the Middle East, China, the post-Soviet space and the EU.

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    26 February 2016

    This Alert takes a look at the Kremlin’s hatchet man in Chechnya. What do his recent provocations reveal about his relationship with the Kremlin? And what do they say about the man himself?

  • 25 February 2016

    Will the recent lifting of sanctions mark the beginning of a new European approach to the authorities in Minsk? How can the Union engage with the isolated country without compromising its principles?

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    05 February 2016

    Euro-Atlantic audiences are increasingly alarmed at Russia’s behaviour at home and abroad. This Brief examines the Russian worldview in order to understand how and why the Russian leadership acts as it does.

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    17 December 2015

    This Chaillot Paper charts the changes that have taken place in the countries and regions adjacent to the EU over the past two decades, and analyses how the upheavals of recent years have altered the EU’s relationship with and approach to its eastern and southern neighbours.

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    28 October 2015

    This Alert shows how disquiet in the West about Russia's use of hybrid tactics has elevated concern about the phenomenon to the strategic level, in particular due to fears that hybrid operations may undermine the credibility of deterrence.

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  • 16 April 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.

  • 18 January 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.

  • 15 October 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.

  • 23 April 2007

    The EUISS organised this workshop to discuss Russia's domestic situation one year before the Presidential elections; recent changes in Russia's foreign policy; and policy options for the EU against the backdrop of domestic and foreign policy developments.

  • 24 February 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.

  • 05 April 2004

    The aim of the seminar was to discuss with Russian experts and EU officials the state of affairs in Russia after the elections, Russian views on European and international developments.

  • 01 September 2003

    With the current 'big bang' enlargement nearing its conclusion, it has become crucial to assess if and to what extent the European Union can and will widen further. The ISS devoted a seminar to this issue, with participants from both current and future member states.

  • 16 May 2003

    The first meeting of the new Task Force on the Caucasus was held on May 16, 2003 at the EUISS in Paris. The conference was entitled 'Security and Insecurity in the South Caucasus', and brought together officials from concerned European ministries, officials from the EU Council and the Commission and a range of international experts on the region.

  • 11 September 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.

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