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Rethinking Relationships in Europe’s East

A Eurasianet partner post from FRIDE

A thorough review of the European Union’s (EU) approach towards its neighbourhood should be a top priority of the new EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and European Commissioner for the neighbourhood, Johannes Hahn. EU neighbourhood policies have produced few results in the tumultuous South (See FRIDE commentary no. 17 – Rethinking Relationships to Europe’s South), and have been derailed both by Russia’s assertiveness and very uneven local commitment in the East.

A new EU approach to the East (perhaps via a renewed Eastern Partnership – EaP) should be more flexible, potentially broader in the number of countries it includes, but especially customise bilateral ties. It will also need to focus on curtailing Russian influence; supporting societies seeking increased ties with Europe; pursuing relations with less interested neighbours (quickly scaling engagement up or down in response to their reform performance); and substantially upgrading EU member-state involvement in shaping and supporting Brussels-formulated policies.

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Jos Boonstra is Head of the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia programme.

A Eurasianet partner post from FRIDE

Rethinking Relationships in Europe’s East

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