Shaping the EU's Policy towards Russia and the Post-Soviet Space? The Case of Romania and Bulgaria's First Ten Years of Membership

Cristian Nitoiu

While many studies have looked at the way the new central and eastern European member states have been affected domestically by accession to the EU, few have looked at their foreign policies. This paper examines how, since their accession, Romania and Bulgaria have influenced the EU's approach towards Russia and the post-Soviet. These two issue areas have traditionally been the most important top priorities on Romania and Bulgaria's foreign policy agendas. Consequently, it is expected that both states have tried to push their national interests to the European level and sought to shape EU policy. However, many times in the last ten years the interests of Romania and Bulgaria have collided with the EU's (and some of the big member states') approach towards Russia and the post-Soviet states. In this context, the aim of the paper is twofold. Firstly, the analysis focuses on the post-accession institutional transformations that occurred in the foreign policies of Bulgaria in Romania. Secondly, it analyses whether these developments gave Bulgaria and Romania a better position to influence the EU's approach towards Russia and the post-soviet space. Analytically the paper will look at four salient areas in the EU's approach towards Russia and the post-Soviet space: regional security, energy security, trade and multilateralism.

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