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Tatiana Romanova

Doctor in Political Studies, Associate Professor at European Studies Department, Saint Petersburg State University, Head of Jean Monnet Chair

There are more issues that divide Russia and the EU than that unite them. Although both sides support the fundamentals of the current world-order, Russia believes that the current arrangement does not grant equality and is asymmetrically patterned after the West. While civil societies on both sides believe that sanctions should be ended and relations strengthened, and while both have incurred losses as a result of restrictive measures, they diverge on the conditions of relaunching economic relations, on the feasibility of technical cooperation in the absence of political convergence, and on what EU – EEU cooperation could look like.

There are more issues that divide Russia and the EU than that unite them. Although both sides support the fundamentals of the current world-order (especially when confronted with a challenge like IS), Russia believes that the current arrangement does not grant equality and is asymmetrically patterned after the West. While civil societies on both sides believe that sanctions should be ended and relations strengthened, and while both have incurred losses as a result of restrictive measures, they diverge on the conditions of relaunching economic relations, on the feasibility of technical cooperation in the absence of political convergence, and on what EU – Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) cooperation could look like. While the EU and Russia feel the need to cooperate on a settlement in Ukraine, on stabilisation in the Middle East, on the fight against terrorism, they diverge over what should be done, over whether human rights / democracy or security / stability should prevail, and over how international organisations should be used.

In this context two parallel tracks should be promoted. The first one is ad hoc cooperation on burning common threats (the settlement in Ukraine and the fi ght against IS and terrorism), or economic issues of immediate mutual benefi t (aviation, the space, medicine, and gas). Various international fora as well as bilateral EU-Russia arrangements should be open for this cooperation. At the same time, sustainable long-term cooperation depends on conceptual discussions over the future set-up, which would guarantee that the preferences of both sides are taken into consideration and neither feels discriminated or betrayed. Mutual understanding is essential for these discussions, it can be cultivated through wider civil society dialogue, more balanced media coverage, the preservation of existing economic links and expert discussions. Only this conceptual settlement will reverse the current ‘divide-unite’ split in favour of more unity.

Russia and Europe: Somewhat Different, Somewhat the Same?, 143 Kb


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  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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