European Union Foreign and Security Policy: Towards a Neighbourhood Strategy

By Roland Dannreuther | Go to book overview
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6

Policies towards Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus

Andrei Zagorski

Relations between the European Union (EU) and the Soviet successor states, including the four countries covered in this chapter, developed from the early 1990s in parallel with the development of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). They have evolved on the basis of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements (PCAs) concluded with the countries concerned in the mid-1990s, as well as, in some cases, on the basis of CFSP Common Strategies towards individual countries, and/or decisions by the Council of Ministers. In most cases, relations were, and predominantly, remain within the domain of the European Commission, and only recently the EU’s CFSP institutions have started getting more actively involved in pursuing cooperation with some of the countries in the region. This Union engagement is particularly true with regard to the evolving ‘strategic partnership’ of the EU with Russia. Nevertheless, EU policy towards the countries concerned, as with the CFSP in general, is as yet far from representing a single policy of a single actor. Policymaking is not only evolving from the mutual adjustments of different national policies on the basis of a common denominator, but also gradually emerging through the development of ‘binding orientations’ and ‘the increased coherence of EU and Member States’ action’. 1

For the EU, managing and supporting the economic and political transformation of the Newly Independent States (NIS) by promoting the market, democracy and the rule of law has represented a series of challenges. This is especially true for the western Newly Independent States that are prospective new direct neighbours of an enlarged EU: Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. However, this dimension of the Union’s policy has never enjoyed the highest priority. The internal institutional reforms and developments of the EU, as well as the management of the eastward enlargement process, have been and remain the immediate preoccupations of the EU and its member states. From the mid-1990s, stabilization and peace-building in the western Balkans shifted the focus of EU policy further away from the NIS. This is reflected in the significant redirection of assistance funds. Within the CARDS assistance programme for the western Balkans, the EU has allocated C4.65 billion for the period

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