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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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    12August 2008

    The hostilities between Russia and Georgia reflect a lack of long-term strategic thinking on the part of Russia, which is jeopardising relations with the West in order to assert itself as a global power, as well a political climate of increasing nationalism in Georgia. Neither of these factors is constructive in resolving the conflicts over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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    14February 2008

    Where is Ukraine going? As this Chaillot Paper endeavours to show, Ukraine itself has great potential to either stabilise or destabilise the region. Therefore, the question of Ukraine’s future orientation is of crucial importance for European security in general.

  • 18January 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.

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    01December 2007

    The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) framework obliges the EU to coordinate closely with Georgia on its policies for conflict resolution in the breakaway entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Brussels and Tbilisi do not share the same time perspective, however.

  • 15October 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.

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    01October 2007

    Over the last ten years, the EU Special Representatives (EUSRs) have pioneered EU foreign policy in countries and regions of direct interest to the Union. EUSRs are a face of the Union, enhancing its visibility, and they give it a voice, seeking to deliver a single message to local and international partners, playing an important role in EU foreign policy.

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    01September 2007

    By introducing the Wider Europe concept and the European Neighborhood Policy, the European Union has actually entered a region which Russia has long considered the sphere of its national interests. The Occasional Paper explores the resultant ‘zero-sum game’.

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    01May 2007

    Lorsque les mondes figés de la Guerre froide et de la Détente se sont effondrés pour donner naissance à une nouvelle Europe, s’est posée la question de savoir quelle relation allaient bien pouvoir entretenir les deux puissances contraintes désormais de se partager pacifiquement un continent : l’Union européenne et la Russie.

  • 23April 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.

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    01July 2006

    For much of the 1990s, Central Asia was not on the EU radar screen. Lately, however, it has started to matter for the EU. The ongoing European military commitment in Afghanistan, the events in Andijan in Uzbekistan, the violent change of power in Kyrgyzstan – all highlight a highly volatile region.

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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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    01February 2002

    Having devoted the last quarter of 2001 to negotiations on a whole corpus of legal, administrative, social and financial provisions, the Institute is once again operational as an autonomous agency of the Union, financed by the fifteen Member States but still completely independent in the choice of issues it works on and its output.

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    01November 2001

    In addition to the fifteen states that emerged from the Soviet collapse in 1992, four other states exist and have declared independence, but are unrecognised. These are the Pridnestrovyan Moldovan Republic (PMR) inside Moldovan borders, the Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia within Georgian borders, and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in Azerbaijan.

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    01July 2001

    This paper deals with Belarus’s slide into authoritarianism, its foreign policy – especially its relations with Russia – and the European responses (or lack thereof). Whereas almost all the other states in the region have adopted Western orientations and market-driven reforms, Belarus has chosen to remain exclusively in the orbit of the Russian Federation.

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    01July 2001

    This paper analyses how the Russian top leadership’s rhetoric on security and the West evolved during and after NATO’s Operation Allied Force against Serbia in 1999. By grasping the logic inherent in political rhetoric, one can arrive at a better understanding of the messages that a political actor is trying to convey.

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    01March 2000

    This paper is about the potential consequences for European security of extending EU border policies to central and eastern Europe (CEE), a process currently taking place as the European Union moves towards eastward enlargement. Its central argument is that an inherent tension is growing between EU internal and external security policies in the region to its East.

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