Russia and the European Union are increasingly bound together – if not by common values, then by virtue of their interdependence and intertwined interests. In spite of this, EU-Russian relations are at their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. The relationship has been marred by competing interests in the ‘shared abroad’, irritations about anti-democratic tendencies in Russia’s domestic policy, energy conflicts and bilateral problems between Russia and several EU member states. The domestic situations of both actors are partially responsible for the lack of progress in the relationship. While Brussels has entered a period of self-consolidation after its eastwards enlargement and the failed referenda on the Constitutional Treaty, Moscow has been pre-occupied with ensuring a smooth transition to a post-Putin presidency.
More importantly, relations are in the grip of a new correlation of forces which profoundly differs from the 1990s. Adapting to these new realities understandably expands the potential for conflict. As such, it will take time for both sides to find a mutually satisfactory modus vivendi.
This timely publication aims to elucidate the views of both actors with regards to their relationship. It provides succinct analyses of the current status quo and examines the potential for positive change. We hope that it can be a contribution to the debate on a more fruitful relationship between the EU and Russia that fulfils its responsibility to tackle today’s international problems and promotes a stable and prosperous Europe.
Table of contents:
by Ralf Fücks
Not Yet at the Crossroads
Is There Hope for Positive Change in Russia-EU Relations?
by Arkady Moshes
EU-Russia Relations: Views from Brussels
by Sabine Fischer
It’s All Psychology!
by Jens Siegert & Ralf Fücks