This page was archived on October 2020.


European security issues

20 - Relations with Russia on protracted conflicts

Grade: C+
Unity 3/5
Resources 3/5
Outcome 4/10
Total 10/20
Scorecard 2012: C+ (10/20)

Although the EU has put some effort into resolving the conflict in Transnistria, the situation in Georgia hasn’t improved and the EU remains invisible in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The EU’s main objective is to secure Russian cooperation in peacefully resolving the protracted conflicts in Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia has “peacekeepers” in Transnistria and in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and military bases in Armenia, which has territorial claims on Nagorno- Karabakh. But while Europeans are united on the issue and some countries such as the Czech Republic, Romania and Poland want the EU to push Moscow to follow through on its previous commitments, few others see it as a priority. The EU as such is not present in Nagorno-Karabakh: France is one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, while Germany, Finland, Sweden and Italy are members.

In 2010, Moscow extended the presence of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol until 2042 and its military presence in Armenia until 2044. The EU offered no official response to Russia’s sale of its S-300 anti-missile system to Azerbaijan or the development of permanent military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. While Russian forces withdrew from the village of Perevi in Georgia in October, as requested by the EUbrokered ceasefire agreement after the war, EU observers continue to be denied access to both breakaway provinces.

There was some progress on cooperation on security issues. In Meseberg in June, Germany called for the establishment of an EU-Russia Political and Security Committee that could help resolve the conflict in Transnistria, but the UK, the Baltic states, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia were sceptical about the value of such a new structure. EU resolve collapsed at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Astana in December. Member states had previously agreed to refuse to sign the final declaration unless it included an action plan on protracted conflicts – which Russia opposed. In the event, they failed to follow the Czech Republic’s lead and all of them ended up signing the declaration.

Protracted conflicts are also discussed in components 51, 52, 53 and 60.