European Union

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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Hybrid Atoms: Rosatom in Europe and Nuclear Energy in Belarus

In late 2020, Belarus inaugurated the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant (Astravyets NPP). This facility – funded by the Russian government and built by the Russian state-owned corporation Rosatom – is one that Lithuania considers a threat to its national security. The project has already been causing frictions in the Baltic region that are yet to be resolved; the situation is emblematic of why and how Moscow is advancing its interests by exploiting the nuclear energy aspirations of various countries in Europe.

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Belarus After the Storm: A Time Bomb

With opposition leaders now either imprisoned or fled, president Aleksander Lukashenko of Belarus is facing some tough choices in both the domestic- and foreign-policy theatres. Having lost the support of many Belarusians, infuriating the West and demonstrating weakness to Russia, Lukashenko’s chances of pulling off a peaceful transition of power akin to the “Kazakh scenario” seem challenging.

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