This paper aims at analysing how the EU and Russia have been perceiving each other as regional players by assessing their security policies towards the shared neighbourhood in Eastern Europe. Alongside, the paper will provide an explanation for the impact those perceptions have on EU-Russia relations. I argue that both Brussels and Moscow policies towards the region are built upon the belief that internal security starts outside their borders and, thus, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus emerge as security lynchpins to their neighbourhood policies. In a zero-sum game logic, the EU and Russia attempt to keep those countries in their own sphere of influence. Therefore, any commitments to European integration are seen by Moscow as a political loss, in the same way that a rapprochement towards Russia is perceived to damage EU's leverage in the region. In order to understand those competing regional approaches and their impact on EU-Russia relations, the paper proceeds as follows. First, it exposes the constructivist approach to security that frames the research. Second, it analyses the EU and Russia perceptions and policies towards the shared neighbourhood, focusing on the security dimension. Third, it explores the impact of those perceptions and policies on EU-Russia relations.
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