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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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    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.

  • 15 December 2015

    On 15 December 2015, the EUISS hosted the third and final meeting of the Task Force on Russian futures at its headquarters in Paris.

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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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    22 October 2015

    This Alert, written in the wake of the presidential elections in Belarus which saw Alexander Lukashenko win a fifth term in office, examines the dilemma facing the EU as it alternates between carrot-and-stick tactics in its relations with ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’.

  • 22 October 2015

    The second meeting of the EUISS Task Force on Russia’s Futures took place on the 22nd of October 2015 in Brussels.

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    24 September 2015

    This Report, the outcome of an EUISS Task Force on sanctions, offers valuable insight into a practice that is now part and parcel of the Union's ‘security’ policy toolbox. It aims to shed more light on an EU policy area that is still under-researched at a time when sanctions are becoming more important in terms of their number, scale and political salience.

  • 24 September 2015

    On 24 September, EUISS launched a Task Force on Russia's futures. The Task Force aims to explore the horizon 2020–2025 by creating a core group of experts on Russian politics who will then generate a report about key trends by the end of next year.

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    18 September 2015

    The recent appointment of Mikheil Saakashvili – a restless yet error-prone reformer – as governor of Odessa is a gamble for Ukraine. Will he be able to introduce or force through the reforms the country so desperately needs? Or does he have his sights set on an even bigger prize?

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    18 September 2015

    Ukraine is fighting two wars simultaneously: a hybrid conflict in the east and a war against itself – a struggle against its own dysfunctionality and endemic levels of corruption. What progress has been made? And are the country’s political elite likely to scupper or support further reform efforts?

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    03 July 2015

    Moldova is in the middle of a debate over whether it is the falling star of the Eastern Partnership or if it can still regain some of its shine. Its politics is messy and corruption is high. Yet, its progress over the last few years has been rather impressive. Now the task is to consolidate achievements, while dealing with its failures.

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    03 July 2015

    Moldova is in the middle of a debate over whether it is the falling star of the Eastern Partnership or if it can still regain some of its shine. Its politics is messy and corruption is high. Yet, its progress over the last few years has been rather impressive. Now the task is to consolidate achievements, while dealing with its failures.

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    17 June 2015

    The Arctic region is currently undergoing major and rapid transformation, both environmentally and economically. This report, the outcome of a EUISS Task Force, examines how these changes carry significant political implications, and highlights the new security challenges that are emerging in the region.

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    12 June 2015

    This Chaillot Paper looks at CSDP operations and missions, and explores how they fit into the broader crisis management environment and multilateral efforts towards international peace. It highlights the inherent constraints facing CSDP and how these inevitably limit its overall impact or degree of success. The paper also examines the EU’s added value and the extent to which CSDP is moving forward at various levels.

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    10 June 2015

    Although President Putin enjoys a remarkably free hand abroad, he still operates within constraints. Over the last nine months, Russians have become increasingly hostile to ‘foreign adventures’ as economic problems have mounted. What effect, if any, will this have on Russian foreign policy?

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    05 June 2015

    With the five BRICS countries continuing to expand and institutionalise their cooperation on key international issues in an attempt to further increase their global clout, this Brief takes a look at the EU’s response to their rise. Should the BRICS be treated individually or as a group by the Union?

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    13 May 2015

    Putin’s inner circle have tried to evade the US and EU sanctions imposed on them and have been amply compensated for their losses by the state. But with intra-elite tensions on the rise and sanctions depressing Western lending across the board, their effect on Russia’s strategic calculations should not be underestimated.

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    24 April 2015

    This Brief seeks to draw out the lessons learnt from the sanctions imposed on the Soviet Union during the Cold War. What parallels are there with Putin’s Russia? Are they effective foreign policy tools or simply blunt instruments which harm the West as much as the Kremlin?

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    10 April 2015

    Russia’s information war in Ukraine is rooted in military theory. Drawing on a Hobbesian vision of the world as an arena of incessant inter-state conflict, this theory sets out techniques that aggressors can use to subvert the information space of its adversaries. In Ukraine, Russia turned theory into practice.

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    18 March 2015

    President Putin has scored a decisive victory on the home front of Russia’s information war: official media have convinced the people that Putin alone stands between Russia and a return to chaos. But with the economic outlook deteriorating, for how long can appearances continue to diverge from reality?

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    17 February 2015

    The decline in military cooperation with Ukraine, defects in the Russian defence industry and a contracting economy have blown Moscow's rearmament plans off course. With a reallocation of resources no longer feasible, the Kremlin now risks compounding its economic problems and deepening its isolation.

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