This page was archived on October 2020.


European security issues

19 - Relations with Russia on the Eastern Partnership

Grade: C
Unity 3/5
Resources 2/5
Outcome 3/10
Total 8/20
Scorecard 2012: C+ (10/20)

The EU is more united than in recent years, but different priorities meant it had only limited resources and impact in getting Russian cooperation or neutrality on the EaP.

The EU’s main objective is to constructively engage with Russia so that it does not interfere with or undermine the Eastern Partnership (EaP) but rather cooperates in it. The EU is now more united in its Russia policy than in recent years – in particular, Poland's “reset” of its relations with Moscow has helped reduce divisions – but member states still set different priorities on issues such as whether to include Russia's state authorities in the EaP projects and whether to take into account Russia’s interests in the region. While some such as Poland push for an “EaP first” approach, others such as France, Germany and the Benelux countries want what they see as a more balanced approach. Georgia continued to argue that the sale of Mistral ships by France to Russia would increase Russia’s offensive capacity.

In 2010, competition between the EU and Russia in their shared neighbourhood continued, although it did not lead to the same political tensions between Moscow and Brussels as in previous years. For example, when the European Commission started negotiations on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTA) with Ukraine and announced plans to initiate talks with Moldova in 2011, Moscow urged both states to join its own integration project, the Customs Union (CU), which is incompatible with DCFTA. Belarus and Kazakhstan joined the CU in July and Armenia may also join.

However, despite the EU’s failure to secure greater Russian cooperation, the EU was able to counter Russian influence in the eastern neighbourhood to some extent. For example, Swedish and Polish foreign ministers visited Moldova following the election in November in order to support a pro-EU coalition that later formed the government. This overcame efforts by the Russian presidential administration to broker a centre-left coalition, which would have had less positive attitudes towards the EaP.

Components 48, 49 and 50 also discuss the EaP.