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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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    07 November 2014

    This Brief takes a closer look at Russia’s claims that it stands to lose so much as a result of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. What are the economic realities? And why is greater attention not being paid to the impacts of the Moscow-backed Eurasian Economic Union?

  • 06 November 2014

    In partnership with the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the EUISS presented the abridged German version of its Yearbook of European of European Security 2014 on 6 November in the Austrian capital.

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    10 October 2014

    This Alert outlines some initial lessons which can already be drawn from the crisis in Ukraine. Dispelling certain commonly held assumptions about the origins of the current conflict, it also outlines how the EU could move forward with crafting policies towards its eastern neighbours.

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    19 September 2014

    This Alert examines the outcome of the BRICS summit that took place in July, as well as the reluctance of individual BRICS to criticise Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Does the establishment of the New Development Bank herald an age of opposition to Western-dominated institutions and policies?

  • 11 September 2014

    The EUISS held its annual conference on 11/12 September in central Paris. This year’s event, entitled ‘European security in a changing global environment’, was an opportunity to convene numerous policy planners and think tankers from across the Europe to discuss European security during a period of major institutional change within the Union.

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    09 September 2014

    This Chaillot Paper examines Russia’s Eurasian project. Is this a new twenty-first century version of the Soviet Union? Does the project make economic sense, or is it simply a ploy by Putin to restore Russia’s great power status? It also looks at how the crisis in Ukraine will affect Moscow’s plans, as well as how the EU could interact with this potential rival.

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    04 July 2014

    Although Moscow appears to have achieved its short-term goals in Ukraine, what about its long-term objectives? This Alert demonstrates how, despite the domestic boost for Russia’s president, the destabilising of country on its doorstep hardly counts as a Russian victory.

  • 18 June 2014

    The second EUISS Task Force on the eastern neighbourhood, this meeting explored the future of the Eurasian Union and possible steps forward for Ukraine following the election of President Poroshenko.

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    28 May 2014

    This Brief assesses the array of challenges facing Ukraine as it attempts to maintain territorial unity and reform its oligarchic economy. Despite the turmoil that has plagued the country in recent months, can its new president, Petro Poroshenko, now embark on a mission to save the state?

  • 22 May 2014

    The EU-Russia Forum, hosted by Carnegie Europe in partnership with the EUISS, convened civil society experts from across Europe, Russia, and the US in Brussels for an exchange of views with EU officials on the current EU-Russian relationship.

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    07 February 2014

    The third in a series of EUISS Alerts focusing on the prospects for Afghanistan in 2014, this Alert evaluates Russia’s current policy towards Afghanistan and how it may evolve in the future. In particular, it shows that Russia’s overall approach is still mainly determined by issues relating to America’s military presence there rather than by its bilateral relations with Kabul.

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    07 February 2014

    As the 2014 Winter Olympics get underway, this brief looks at what Moscow hopes to gain from its $51 billion Olympic investment. The 2008 Beijing Olympics are seen as a model for hosting successful games that showcase national development. But with global headlines dominated by stories of corruption, human rights abuses, anti-gay laws and the very real threat of terrorist attacks, one might be forgiven for wondering whether the Russian government regrets its decision to bid for the games.

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    30 January 2014

    What does 2014 have in store for the EU’s eastern neighbourhood? This alert provides a succinct overview of the major political events and developments likely to shape the agenda this year.

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    17 January 2014

    With the next EU-Russia Summit fast approaching, this brief assesses the cooperative, yet competitive, nature of the relationship between Brussels and Moscow. With the ongoing spats over the countries in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood – and the absence of grands projets – how is it possible to deepen relations further?

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    06 December 2013

    This alert assesses the state of play of politics in the Union’s eastern neighbourhood in the aftermath of the Vilnius Summit. How should the EU proceed with Ukraine following its dramatic refusal to initial an Association Agreement? And how can it ensure the other Eastern Partnership countries stay on track in the face of both domestic and foreign pressure?

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    29 November 2013

    This brief analyses what impact the five BRICS countries are likely to have in global politics in the years to come, and what future trajectory the grouping might take. The BRICS ‘club’ may or may not last – in its present or another formation – but its rise is a wake-up call for the EU to deepen its bilateral relations with individual BRICS and possibly reconsider its own position in the emerging system of global governance.

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    22 November 2013

    With an increase in the number and scale of acts of vigilantism by semi-organised nationalist groups, the Russian authorities now find themselves –and their political system – under serious pressure. But in addition to a significant mutation in Russian nationalism, what wider trends are at play? And what effect will this rising xenophobia have on Russia’s foreign policy goals?

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    18 October 2013

    This alert explores the reasons behind Armenia’s shock decision to give up on its association and free trade deal with the EU and highlights the possibilities for the Union to enhance its relations with states in the eastern neighbourhood. Are we now witnessing the formation of a ‘two-tier’ Eastern Partnership?

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    19 September 2013

    As the EU negotiates the final phase of the Eastern Partnership process, this alert explores how the Union might consider launching an ‘EaP interim solidarity package’ to offset potential economic losses incurred by eastern-partner countries due to external pressures.

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    06 September 2013

    As the EU and most of its eastern partners enter the final phases of signing Association and Deep and Comprehensive Free-Trade Area agreements, this alert highlights the pitfalls that can still derail the process, as Russia steps up economic pressure on countries like Armenia and Ukraine.

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