The EU as a Security Actor: Russia's Response to EU Policy in Ukraine

Derek Averre

The EU's 1999 Common Strategy on Russia, and its 2003 European Security Strategy, had a clear strategic goal of promoting European stability and security through deeper cooperation with Russia, including in their shared neighbourhood. Deteriorating relations from the time of the 'Orange Revolution' in Ukraine, and the EU's norm promotion through the European Neighbourhood Policy and Eastern Partnership and growing authority in important areas of security governance, began increasingly to unsettle Russia's security establishment. The offer of political association and economic integration through Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas prompted Moscow - extrapolating its own security logic - to interpret the EU's policy as forcing Kiev to 'choose between East and West' in an attempt to establish its own 'sphere of influence' in the shared neighbourhood. This paper examines what appears to be a long-term breakdown in security relations between Brussels and Moscow following Russia's intervention in the Donbass and annexation of Crimea and the reasons for the EU's limited response. It concludes with an assessment of the future of security governance in the 'shared neighbourhood'. Can Europe commit the resources and find the leadership appropriate to becoming a 'security provider', as suggested in the Lisbon Treaty, or is Europe facing the prospect of a 'negotiated order' in which Moscow can pursue its sovereign interests through transactional relations with the EU while cementing its influence in the neighbourhood? What are the broader strategic implications for Europe of dealing with Russia?

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