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Research Report

The European Union and Russia:: Perception and Interest in the Shaping of Relations

André Gerrits (ed.)
Max Bader
Marcel de Haas
Jacques de Jong
Copyright Date: Nov. 1, 2008
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 98

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[ii])
  2. (pp. [iii]-[iv])
  3. (pp. 1-4)
    André Gerrits

    Few countries confront the European Union with its own divisiveness, with its own limitations, as much as Russia does. The European Union and the Russian Federation seem so distinctly different in their domestic order as well as their international behaviour, that their relationship looks almost inherently problematic. The European Union’s policies towards the Russian Federation therefore need to be based on a sober understanding of the European Union’s best interests, and a credible assessment of Russia’s domestic and foreign policy priorities, keeping in mind the long-term perspective of cooperation and engagement as a common interest.

    As often in politics, long-term...

  4. (pp. 5-14)
    André Gerrits

    History has a strong impact on relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation. Europe’s transformational strategy towards Russia is not only typical of how the European Union prefers to see itself and wants to be seen by others; it is actually rooted in the very history of Europe’s relationship with its Eastern neighbour.

    Historical generalizations need to be made with reservation. They may help us to understand the motives and patterns of Russian and European foreign policies, but they may also lead to false comparisons and undue determinism. Continuity does not reject change. And Russian–EU relations have...

  5. (pp. 15-36)
    Marcel de Haas

    Russia and the European Union are working together in a number of fields of external security. The results, however, are not impressive. Furthermore, Russia’s war with Georgia of August 2008 has further complicated Russia’s security-related cooperation with the European Union. Future cooperation in external security seems best served by specific and concrete projects, rather than by comprehensive, declaratory concepts.

    This chapter first discusses both old and current developments that complicate external security cooperation between the European Union and the Russian Federation. It will then examine and discuss Europe-related entries in Russia’s major security documents and will analyse Russia’s security approach...

  6. (pp. 37-64)
    Jacques de Jong

    While discussing EU–Russia relations – be they economic, political or cultural – the energy dimension always comes up sooner or later. Energy plays a major role in EU–Russia trade relations. Russia is the European Union’s third biggest trading partner, both for exports and imports. For all of the EU-27’s imports, Russia’s share is about 10 per cent, whereas for exports it is 6 per cent. And this is largely because of energy. Energy imports cover (in value) 25 per cent of all EU imports, with Russia’s share being about two-thirds.¹ Energy is therefore the main driver for the...

  7. (pp. 65-84)
    Max Bader

    Over the course of Putin’s second term as president of Russia from 2004-2008, a near-consensus appeared in the Western media and among scholars and analysts regarding the undemocratic direction in which Putin had taken Russia. The gradual concentration of executive power in the hands of the current regime, in conjunction with the elimination of political pluralism, have for now ended the once widespread expectation that Russia would succeed in making the transition to liberal democracy, as most states in Central and Eastern Europe now have. Notwithstanding their authoritarian leanings, Putin and Medvedev maintain that Russia is heading towards democracy. The...

  8. (pp. 85-92)
    André Gerrits, Max Bader, Marcel de Haas and Jacques de Jong

    The pattern of interaction between Russia and Europe has changed dramatically over the last few years: from a strongly active European Union and a largely reactive Russia during the 1990s, to a Russian Federation that sets the agenda while the European Union mostly reacts, from the beginning of this decade. For the enlarged European Union, relations with an increasingly assertive Russia have gained a strong component of crisis management. The very different natures of the European Union and the Russian Federation as international actors, as well as the asymmetrical character of their ‘mutual dependence’, make a ‘power audit’ of predominantly...

  9. (pp. 93-94)