You are here

Eastern neighbours & Russia

The Eastern neighbourhood is of strategic importance to the EU: although the Union’s relations with the states of the region vary significantly, the EU and its Eastern neighbours maintain high levels of interdependence in several different spheres, from trade and energy flows to the joint management of security challenges and migration.

The EU has long developed its policies in the region and its relations with Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership.

Association Agreements containing provisions on the establishment of deep and comprehensive free trade areas, form the cornerstones of EU engagement. Such agreements have been signed and are implemented by Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia.

 Eastern neighbours & Russia 2.0

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine reshaped demographics, geoeconomics, and geopolitics in the Eastern Partnership states. It also prompted the EU to innovate its engagement with the countries of which it consists. Security has become a key emphasis in addition to trade, energy or migration The EU and Member States provide Ukraine with substantial support that includes military assistance and training, while security cooperation with Moldova has been upgraded and the EU has engaged in mediation between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

In a dramatic change to the existing paradigm, the enlargement agenda has been expanded to the Eastern neighbourhood. Russia’s war on Ukraine encouraged the ‘Association Trio’ of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to formally apply for EU membership. The three states were granted the European perspective in return - Ukraine and Moldova received candidate status in June 2022, while Georgia was recognised as a potential candidate. Relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan also see developments outside of the enlargement track.

Over the coming years, the newfound momentum of the EU’s engagement with Eastern neighbours needs to be sustained by political will and sufficient resources. The EU’s success in the neighbourhood will depend to a great extent on its actions in the security realm – not only in Ukraine, but also in Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, given that Russia’s war and other trends in the regional security altered the status quo of protracted conflicts in these countries, creating also new needs for humanitarian assistance. Progress in the enlargement process will also be a major driver of positive change in the region, together with the easing of remaining trade barriers, encouraging good governance and regional connectivity conducive to peace and prosperity in the region.

Until 2022, the EU and Russia were bound by a dense web of political, economic and people-to-people contacts. Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally reconfigured the EU’s relationship with Moscow. The EU's response to Russia's war on Ukraine now dominates the mutual relationship, with Russia subject to multiple rounds of restrictive measures and the economic and energy relations having undergone a significant decoupling. 

Pages

  • Download document
    12November 2009

    The Russian-Georgian war of 2008 induced a thaw in relations between Brussels and Minsk, yet relations with Belarus continue to be a headache for the European Union. Chaillot Paper No.119 aims to provide in-depth empirical analysis on Belarus which, due to its long-standing isolation, remains a blank spot on the European map.

  • Download document
    09November 2009

    On 30 October, three elderly statesmen met to congratulate each other on the role they played in Germany’s reunification: Helmut Kohl, Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush. They all all their own reasons for doing so. The Russian President had ruled out the use of violence to keep the Soviet empire intact. He just let go and, with the fall of the Wall, the most dramatic event which closed the twentieth century, the whole Soviet empire collapsed, and in a domino effect that spread with breathtaking speed the regimes of Eastern European bloc countries were toppled one after another.

  • Download document
    04November 2009

    'The Obama Moment' provides an authoritative analysis of the most topical global questions of our time: multilateralism, the economy, disarmament and climate change. Will the election of Obama facilitate enhanced transatlantic co-operation in dealing with these and other challenges?

  • 19October 2009

    This book breaks new ground by providing the first comprehensive review of every ESDP operation to date. It explains how the EU institutions responsible for international crisis management have developed and functioned, reviews the civil and military resources available to the ESDP, and analyses the key partnerships between the EU and other international organisations.

  • Download document
    10September 2009

    It came as no surprise to hear Turkish and Armenian policymakers announce that they are launching final talks to establish diplomatic relations. This is the third move towards normalisation – after football diplomacy and the April 2009 road map – which has resulted from Swiss-mediated talks behind the scenes. The new framework proposes the signature of two protocols on the establishment of diplomatic ties and the development of bilateral relations.

  • Download document
    13February 2009

    The new gas deal is a step forward in ending a period of ‘special’ energy relations between Kyiv and Moscow. A more transparent gas import scheme to Ukraine and the convergence of import prices with those in the EU definitely make rent-seeking activities less likely.

  • Download document
    20January 2009

    This collaborative effort of the EUISS research team highlights what it considers to be the major political event of 2009: the election of President Barack Obama and the impact that the change in the American administration will have on the world. It covers the priority areas for US-EU cooperation of global governance, climate change, disarmament and non-proliferation, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and transatlantic relations.

  • Download document
    01January 2009
    By

    EULEX Kosovo is finally up and running after a long planning phase. It began operations on 9 December 2008 and has been breaking new ground for the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) as the EU's largest civilian mission.

  • Download document
    06November 2008

    So far the European Union has not been very successful in its attempts to apply a strict positive conditionality approach towards Belarus. Since the parliamentary elections in 2000 − the first national elections after the controversial constitutional referendum of 1996 − Belarusian elections have been treated by the EU as a litmus test for the improvement of relations.

  • Download document
    04November 2008

    This issue of the EUISS newsletter looks at the need to avoid confrontational bipolarity in the wake Georgia conflict, assesses prospects for a regional solution to the Afghanistan conflict, and examines ESDP ten years after the St Malo Anglo-French summit. It also gives a round up of the Institute’s recent seminar series on the European Security Strategy, as well as the latest publications and press clippings.

Pages

Pages

Pages