Security challenges in Russia-European Union relations

Authored by: Maria Raquel Freire , Licínia Simão

Routledge Handbook of Russian Security

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815396710
eBook ISBN: 9781351181242
Adobe ISBN:


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Russia-European Union (EU) relations encompass a broad spectrum of issues across multiple levels of interaction, evidencing a mature and dense relationship between the two neighbours. Security issues remain one area where relations have encountered greater challenges, reflecting an evolving understanding of security matters, as well as the distinct nature of both actors. In this chapter, we advance a broad understanding of security as necessary to address the many aspects that the EU and Russia have defined as relevant in their perceptions of and interactions with each other. Although many of these security dimensions are not new, as they were already developed in the context of the Helsinki Process in the 1970s, they acquire new relevance depending on the interactions between both actors and the broader regional and international context. We argue therefore that there is no linearity in the assessment of Russia-EU security relations. On the one hand, we can see both cooperative and uncooperative behaviours coexisting in the same period of time across different issues. On the other hand, within one same issue we can also see evolving patterns of relations across time. This suggests that Russia-EU security relations, particularly in the wider European context, remain largely dependent on domestic factors, including the specificities of decision-making of each actor, as well as on external factors, particularly regional dynamics in the post-Soviet space and great Middle East, and relations with the US. This chapter addresses EU member-states’ policies only when relevant to understand EU policymaking.

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