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Contradicting Concept - Modernisation for or without Partnership

Alla Akulshina

The main objective of the paper is to analyse the two-year experience of realisation of the "Partnership for Modernisation" concept and its true impact on the EU-Russia agenda. In the paper I will analyse the realisation of PfM in key areas: the main obstacles encountered and how it has changed the status quo in the EU-Russia dialogue. In such a context, we are able to consider the divergence between Russia's needs and the actual modernisation agenda. This analysis shows that questions remain about the viability of technical modernization and the reasons for the inertial approach in modernisation. Economic and political realities in Russia and the EU have changed and some re-orientation of partners' foreign policies is apparent. How much can the PfM consolidate cooperation, accounting for institutional capacities and weakness and the efficiency of implementation mechanisms? After all, the Modernisation concept has a strong correlation with democratisation and there is a danger that political modernisation is interpreted as interference. Now the second part of the PfM - how to realise "partnership" as the dialogue of two partners with mutual benefits - seems lost. The forgotten value dimension as a condition of historically determined interaction between Russia and Europe must be added. To build an integrated Europe we should agree how to create modern patterns of European civilization in XXI century and geo-cultural dimension should become a way to democratize Russia-EU dialogue. The paper therefore focuses on answering the following questions: Is the PfM a real working initiative or just an elegant tool to fill a long pause? When will the PfM be replaced by a Strategic Partnership, and which steps should be taken by each side?

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