CEPS essay – Laure Delcour, Hrant Kostanyan – “Towards a Fragmented Neighbourhood. Policies of the EU and Russia and their consequences for the area that lies in between”
The ongoing crisis in Ukraine not only challenges the country’s stability, sovereignty and integrity, it is also the culmination of the increasingly open rivalry between the European Union and Russia over their ‘common’ neighbourhood. Competition between Brussels and Moscow has crystallised in the region around two mutually exclusive integration projects, the Eastern Partnership and the Eurasian Customs Union.
The current crisis involves much more than just the rivalry between two economic integration projects, however. Ultimately, it is likely to turn the area located between the EU and Russia into a fragmented neighbourhood; a highly unstable and volatile region with changing and overlapping external influences and shifting loyalties.
As the paper argues, in reviewing the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership, the EU’s incoming leadership should be more sensitive towards the existing political, diplomatic, economic, energy and military ties between Russia and the countries in the common neighbourhood. Factoring these ties into the EU’s policies vis-à-vis its Eastern neighbourhood is a prerequisite for more reflective, responsive and effective EU policies.
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