This page was archived on October 2020.



The relationship between the EU and Russia, like that between the EU and other great powers, is characterised by a mixture of competition and co-operation. For example, the EU and Russia compete with each other for influence in the eastern neighbourhood but also co-operate on issues such as Iran and proliferation. What makes the relationship distinctive, however, is the massive and mutual – but asymmetric – dependence between the EU and Russia.Although some member states depend on Russia for energy, Russia depends on the EU for a wide range of things including investment and technology. In the last few years, relative power in the relationship has shifted towards the EU. A few years ago, Russia was boosted by oil and gas money, which led investment bankers to include it in the BRIC group of large emerging economies. However, the economic crisis – which hurt Russia more than any other member of the G20 – put an end to this illusion.

In the past, the EU has also tended to be deeply divided about Russia. In fact, Russia was one of the most neuralgic issues in European foreign policy. In particular, the EU was split between those member states such as Germany and Italy that wanted to engage with Russia and those such as Lithuania and Poland that wanted to contain it. But in 2010 the EU moved towards greater internal unity, largely as a result of the re-invigoration of cooperation between Germany and Poland. This in turn enabled a less conflictual relationship between the EU and Russia. A key factor at the political level was the rapprochement between Poland and Russia that began in 2009 but was given a new impetus by the Smolensk tragedy in April. A new consensus on the need to engage with Moscow helped produce a positive result in the EU-Russia “Partnership for Modernisation”, which was agreed at the summit in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia in May/June.




Trade Liberalisation and overall relationship - Grade: B-
Category Unity Resources Impact Total Grade
14 - Trade liberalisation with Russia 4/5 3/5 5/10 12/20 B-
15 - Visa liberalisation with Russia 4/5 3/5 3/10 10/20 C+


Human Rights and Governance - Grade: C-
Category Unity Resources Impact Total Grade
16 - Rule of law and human rights in Russia 4/5 2/5 2/10 8/20 C
17 - Media freedom in Russia 3/5 2/5 1/10 6/20 C-
18 - Stability and human rights in the North Caucasus 4/5 1/5 1/10 6/20 C-


European security issues - Grade: C+
Category Unity Resources Impact Total Grade
19 - Relations with Russia on the Eastern Partnership 3/5 2/5 3/10 8/20 C+
20 - Relations with Russia on protracted conflicts 3/5 3/5 4/10 10/20 C+
21 - Relations with Russia on energy issues 4/5 2/5 3/10 9/20 C+
22 - Diversification of gas supply routes to Europe 2/5 4/5 5/10 11/20 B-


Cooperation on regional and global issues - Grade: B-
Category Unity Resources Impact Total Grade
23 - Relations with Russia on Iran and Proliferation 4/5 4/5 8/10 16/20 B+
24 - Relations with Russia on Cooperation on Central Asia 4/5 3/5 6/10 13/20 B
25 - Relations with Russia on Climate Change 3/5 3/5 3/10 9/20 C+
26 - Relations with Russia on the G20 2/5 2/5 2/10 6/20 C-