European Union

Between Bad, Worse, and Worst: Europe Faces Tough Tests This Winter

Europe is under growing pressure from the East. First, the dictator of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, after a test run of weaponised waves of migrants against the Lithuanian and Latvian borders over the summer, has now sent not just hundreds but thousands of migrants to breach the borders of the European Union. Kuźnica, on the Polish border, was only the first major attempt; many more are likely to follow to coerce the EU into accepting the regime in Minsk as legitimate and lifting the sanctions.

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EU-Russia relations: push back-constrain-engage. European High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell speaks during a news conference on EU-Russia relations at the European Commission headquarters, in Brussels, in June 2021.

EU–Russia Relations 30 Years After the Collapse of the Soviet Union: The Art of Managing Tensions

The European Union developed a strongly idealist foreign policy in the post-Cold War international environment where liberal values and a rules-based order seemed to be the only path ahead. It is now struggling to adjust to a world where rivalry and antagonism are a normal part of international affairs. The fundamental disagreements between the EU and Russia over democratic values and European security are most likely to persist during Russia’s current regime, possibly beyond. A unified, clear-eyed EU approach to Russia could make an important contribution to keeping tensions under control.

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Dialogue with Russia. Russia Needs to Reset Relations with the West.

Moscow’s resurgent foreign policy and the undemocratic rule of President Vladimir Putin ended the relatively friendly relations that had been possible between Russia and the West in the 1990s. In the seven years since Russia annexed Crimea and started a war of attrition against Ukraine, the security situation in the transatlantic region has continuously deteriorated. The Kremlin has demonstrated hostility towards the West, crises and security issues have continued to multiply instead of being resolved, and the risk of outright conflict has come close to Cold War peaks. There is an obvious and urgent need to lower tensions, but Moscow prefers to demonstrate its readiness to escalate.

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Responding to a Dictator’s Stunts: A No-Thrill Flight Without a Destination?

It is quite extraordinary to see a state being rebuffed by Hamas, berated by the Ryanair CEO, admired by a boss of a Russian state propaganda outlet and prompting an immediate response from the EU that goes beyond “deep concern”—all within 36 hours of a major civil aviation incident. Whatever the reaction, we must give it to them: the regime in Minsk played by the “book of rogues” as a deserving and almost exemplary disciple of its big brother in Moscow. Can it be stopped from attempting similar stunts in the future? Probably not, so we will have to be prepared.

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Alexander Stubb: I See the Baltics and the Nordics as One Entity

After seeing the world through the lenses of Finnish politics, experiencing the specifics of Nordic cooperation and shaping the future of the European Union, Alexander Stubb is back in academia. He considers himself a big fan of the Baltics and the Nordics, but not of regionalisation of the European Union, even though he was one of the initiators of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

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