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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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    29March 2017

    This Alert looks at Azerbaijan’s autocratic and assertive domestic turn, and explains the potential risks of the rebalancing of its foreign policy priorities by the ruling elites.

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    29March 2017

    Following recent constitutional changes, Armenians are set to go to the polls on 2 April to vote in parliamentary elections. What role does Russia play in the country's politics? And is there room to expand relations with the EU?

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    15March 2017

    Much of the current analysis of future US-Russia relations is focused on Trump’s presumed instincts and intentions towards Moscow. This Alert argues that the president’s policies towards China, Iran, energy and defence are all likely to present Russia with a difficult dilemma.

  • 08March 2017

    On 8 March, the EUISS and DG NEAR jointly organised a Seminar on building resilience in the EU’s surrounding regions. The Seminar brought together experts from Europe’s Eastern and Southern neighbourhoods, as well as European institutions to explore the challenges and opportunities in building resilience in the EU’s surrounding regions.

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    15February 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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    09December 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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    09December 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.

  • 25November 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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    03November 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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    05October 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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  • 16May 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.

  • 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.

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