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Energy as a tool of foreign policy of authoritarian states, in particular Russia

27-04-2018

Russia and other energy-rich authoritarian states use their energy exports for economic gains but also as a tool of foreign policy leverage. This study looks at the ways and methods these states have used to exert political pressure through their energy supplies, and what it means for the European Union. Most energy-rich authoritarian states use their energy wealth to ensure regime survival. But, more than others, Russia uses its energy wealth as well to protect and promote its interests in its ‘ ...

Russia and other energy-rich authoritarian states use their energy exports for economic gains but also as a tool of foreign policy leverage. This study looks at the ways and methods these states have used to exert political pressure through their energy supplies, and what it means for the European Union. Most energy-rich authoritarian states use their energy wealth to ensure regime survival. But, more than others, Russia uses its energy wealth as well to protect and promote its interests in its ‘near abroad’ and to make its geopolitical influence felt further afield, including in Europe. It uses gas supplies to punish and to reward, affecting both transit states and end-consumers. This study explores how supply disruptions, price discounts or hikes, and alternative transit routes such as Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream, are used by Russia to further its foreign policy ambitions, feeding suspicions about its geopolitical motives. The lack of transparency about Russia’s energy policy decisions contributes to this. In response, the EU is building an Energy Union based around the Third Energy Package, a more integrated European market and diversified supplies. By investing in new supplies, such as LNG, and completing a liberalised energy market, the EU will be better able to withstand such energy coercion and develop a more effective EU foreign policy.

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Rem Korteweg

Eurasian Economic Union: The rocky road to integration

20-04-2017

Since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, various attempts have been made to re-integrate the economies of its former republics. However, little progress was made until Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan launched a Customs Union in 2010. In 2015, this was upgraded to a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Modelled in part on the EU, this bloc aims to create an EU-style Eurasian internal market, with free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. So far, the EEU's performance has been poor. Trade ...

Since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, various attempts have been made to re-integrate the economies of its former republics. However, little progress was made until Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan launched a Customs Union in 2010. In 2015, this was upgraded to a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Modelled in part on the EU, this bloc aims to create an EU-style Eurasian internal market, with free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. So far, the EEU's performance has been poor. Trade has slumped; this has more to do with Russia's economic downturn than the effects of economic integration, but there are signs that the new bloc is favouring protectionism over openness to global trade, which in the long term could harm competitiveness. Especially following the showdown between the EU and Russia over Ukraine, the EEU is widely seen in the West as a geopolitical instrument to consolidate Russia's post-Soviet sphere of influence. Fear of Russian domination and trade disputes between EEU member states are hindering progress towards the EEU's economic objectives. However, prospects may improve when Russia comes out of recession. The EEU is developing relations with third countries, such as Vietnam, which in 2015 became the first to sign a free-trade agreement with the bloc. For its part, the EU has declined to recognise the EEU as a legitimate partner until Russia meets its commitments under the Minsk agreements to help end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The European Neighbourhood Policy

20-12-2016

Since 2004, the European Neighbourhood Policy has provided a framework for relations between the EU and its 16 geographically closest neighbours. This framework offers enhanced cooperation and access to the European market by means of bilateral action plans leading ultimately to association agreements. It is complemented by three regional initiatives: the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the Black Sea Synergy and the Eastern Partnership. The UfM and the Eastern Partnership are multilateral and ...

Since 2004, the European Neighbourhood Policy has provided a framework for relations between the EU and its 16 geographically closest neighbours. This framework offers enhanced cooperation and access to the European market by means of bilateral action plans leading ultimately to association agreements. It is complemented by three regional initiatives: the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the Black Sea Synergy and the Eastern Partnership. The UfM and the Eastern Partnership are multilateral and involve shared institutions (Euro-Mediterranean Assembly, Euronest, regular summits). The major geopolitical upheavals brought about by the Arab Spring in the southern Mediterranean since 2011 and by the conflict in Ukraine since 2014 have prompted the EU to overhaul what it is doing in the neighbourhood. That overhaul – and action to put it into practice – must succeed if the EU is to assert itself as an international player. For that reason, in November 2015 the Commission and the European External Action Service published a communication on reforming the European Neighbourhood Policy.

The Signature of the Eurasian Union Treaty: A Difficult Birth, an Uncertain Future

16-07-2014

The smiles at the signing ceremony for Eurasian Union Treaty held on 29 May 2014 revealed little of the arduous negotiations that had led to the agreement – or of its uncertain future. Present in Astana were the presidents of the same three countries that had formed the Customs Union, in force since 2010: Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. The media offered pictures of the cheery trio joining hands, cementing the agreement that Russian President Vladimir Putin had strongly advocated. But the next steps ...

The smiles at the signing ceremony for Eurasian Union Treaty held on 29 May 2014 revealed little of the arduous negotiations that had led to the agreement – or of its uncertain future. Present in Astana were the presidents of the same three countries that had formed the Customs Union, in force since 2010: Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. The media offered pictures of the cheery trio joining hands, cementing the agreement that Russian President Vladimir Putin had strongly advocated. But the next steps will be difficult, not least because of the terms to be offered to Armenia and Kyrgyzstan – the two countries that have agreed to join the Customs Union and the Eurasian Union. Several economic and political issues, with important regional implications, will need to be solved before the ‘first enlargement’. The treaty’s provisions are vague about the Union’s real content and will also need to be clarified in the months ahead – preferably before the Eurasian Union enters into force, on 1 January 2015. Conceived in haste in response to Moscow’s pressure, the Union is experiencing a dilemma that its model, the European Union, has also faced: should the union deepen or enlarge? Or how can it cope if it chooses to do both?

The Impacts of Visa Liberalisation in Eastern Partnership Countries, Russia and Turkey on Trans-Border Mobility

11-03-2014

Upon request by the LIBE Committee, this study examines the Schengen Visa liberalisation in the Eastern Partnership countries, Russia and Turkey which has proven to have a huge transformative potential across the justice, liberty and security policies of the countries where it has been deployed. Far-reaching technical reforms in the fields of document security, irregular migration and border management, public order security and fundamental rights have to be implemented so that visa-free travel can ...

Upon request by the LIBE Committee, this study examines the Schengen Visa liberalisation in the Eastern Partnership countries, Russia and Turkey which has proven to have a huge transformative potential across the justice, liberty and security policies of the countries where it has been deployed. Far-reaching technical reforms in the fields of document security, irregular migration and border management, public order security and fundamental rights have to be implemented so that visa-free travel can be allowed. Evidence provided by visa applications data reveals that visa liberalisation is a logical step, provided that the technical reforms are adopted and implemented. This study analyses the current state of play of the implementation of the EU visa policy instruments and assesses the positive impact of visa-free travel on trans-border mobility according to current visa application statistics.

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Raül Hernández i Sagrera (Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals - IBEI)

Migration to the Russian Federation: Existing problems and policy framework

30-03-2012

Russia is a major source of and destination for migration, involving a considerable number of people. It has mainly attracted migrants from other countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States. Economic development and the ensuing need for workers, as well as demographic problems, have led to important policy changes in Russia. The country seems to have been moving towards a more "open" migration policy.

Russia is a major source of and destination for migration, involving a considerable number of people. It has mainly attracted migrants from other countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States. Economic development and the ensuing need for workers, as well as demographic problems, have led to important policy changes in Russia. The country seems to have been moving towards a more "open" migration policy.

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