EU and Russia - a real partnership?

Term Paper, 2004

20 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. History of the EU-Russia relations
2.1. The Gorbatshev Years
2.2. The Yeltsin Years
2.3. The Putin Years

3. The instruments of the EU-Russia relations
3.1. Agreements
3.1.1. The Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA)
3.1.2. The EU Common Strategy on Russia
3.1.3. Technical and financial assistance programmes
3.1.4. Sectoral Agreements
3.2. Meetings and bodies
3.2.1. Summits
3.2.2. The Permanent Partnership Council
3.2.3. Co-operation Committees and other bodies
3.3. Policy Examples
3.3.1. Kaliningrad
3.3.2. The Energy Dialogue

4. The interests of the EU and Russia
4.1. Common interests
4.1.1. Economic
4.1.2. Security
4.1.3. Political
4.2. Divergent interests
4.2.1. Economic
4.2.2. Security
4.2.3. Political

5. What is the overall concept of interests?
5.1. for the EU
5.2. for Russia

6. Conclusion


1. Introduction

Russia is the biggest country in Europe, as well in population as in area. Therefore it is impossible for the other big entity, as well in population as in area, the EU, to ignore Russia. Even more because through the enlargement both now have a common border.

Not only for this reason, but also stemming from economic interest in the big market and its resources, the EU developed multi-faced “partnership” with Russia.

How did these partnership develop? How is it shaped? These are the first two questions this essay wants to answer. The Kaliningrad policy and the Energy Dialogue thereby serve as actual policy examples.

But are the EU and Russia following common interests as the term “partnership” indicates? What is missing, what are their concepts and what are the future prospects? These are the questions for the second part.

2. History of the EU-Russia relations

2.1. The Gorbatshev Years

Already before Russia as a separate state came into existence the EEC[1] and the Soviet Union[2] started approaching each other. Gorbatshev[3] formulated the idea of “a Common House Europe”, something completely new in the foreign policy, which until then neglected the idea of an united Europe. Gorbatshev this way tried to overcome the political and economic isolation, which had paralysed his country. It was meant more as invitation for co-operation rather than for integration, first economically, later as well in matters of security in the shape of co-operation between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 672)

After the radical changes in the Central and Eastern European Countries the wish for co-operation from the EEC as well as from Russia culminated in the conclusion of a Trade and Co-operation Agreement in December 1989. It ended the era of complete neglect of the EEC. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 672/673) Disintegration nevertheless brought a quick end to this offer.

2.2. The Yeltsin Years

Also Yeltsin had the plan to “bring back Russia to Europe”. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 673)

In Yeltsin’s understanding this meant a partnership with the USA and an integration into the European Organisations and the International Monetary Fund. (Mommsen: 2002, P. 673)

Nevertheless other foreign policy concepts remained, such as the Eurasia orientation. Also the “Derschwanost” concept, propagating a more imperial approach, gained importance and formed a decisional base for the military intervention in Chechyna. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 674)

But the orientation on Europe remained strong and already in the end of 1992 the EC[4] and Russia started negotiations about a Partnership and Co-operation Agreement supposed to replace the one concluded with the S.U. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 675)

Since December 1991 the CIS[5], including Russia, benefited from the EEC’s TACIS[6] focused on supporting the transformation process towards market economy. (Mommsen:2002, p. 676)

In June 1994 the EU and Russia finally signed the Agreement on Partnership and Co-operation, which, after the ratification process, became binding not before December 1997. It was a laborious compromise between Russia’s interest to gain merely economical and trade advantages and the EU’s to integrate Russia into the community of European values. It gained all the “Four Freedoms”, except the free movement of workers, the same as in the association agreements with the CEEC[7]. Additionally a regularly political dialogue was set up and Russia was from then on considered as a state with an economy in transition rather than with state trade (Mommsen: 2002, p. 676), an important step on Russia’s way to the membership in WTO[8]. For the EU it was important to tie the agreement to certain conditions, such as democratic structures and observance of Human Rights. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 676)

As result of these the EU in January 1995 in the light of the Chechyna events suspended the ratification process of a PCA interim agreement. But already in June the sanctions were lifted, because the EU sought to integrate Russia rather than isolating it. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 677)

Generally the process of approaching the international organisations such as the EU was not only seen in a positive light. Critics considered it more as a disadvantage and in appropriate for the powerful successor state of the S.U.. The long negotiation period for the agreement with the EU is also caused by this reception by Russian politicians as well as by the problems European politicians had with such an attitude. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 675,676)

On the other hand Yeltsin on the USA-Russian Summit in Helsinki in March 1997 announced that “Russia wants to be recognised as a fully adequate European state” and that it is prepared “to enter the EU”. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 677) But especially under the second Presidency of Yeltsin the Primakov[9] doctrine on foreign policy gained importance. It propagated a diversification of foreign policy, which formed the base for pragmatic co-operation with the West. The World is seen as a multi-polar one in which Russia can be an influential player. Still he always emphasised a special interest in Europe. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 679)

This self-reception was traumatised by a financial and economic crisis in August 1998 and the marginal role in the NATO decision to intervene in Kosovo in 1999. Furthermore in autumn 1998, after a very bad harvest, Russia had to request food aid from. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 677)

The EU Common Strategy on Russia, presented in June 1999, was therefore meant to bring Russia again closer. It outlined in a more detailed way the objectives of the partnership and proposed common positions and initiatives in international co-operation. TACIS was focuesd more on good governance than just financial assistance. The Common Strategy was meant to expire in June 2004, but was prolonged beyond. (Mommsen: 2003, p. 677)

2.3. The Putin Years

Putin showed his approach towards the EU for the first time in October1999 in Helsinki, when he[10] presented the “Mid-term Strategy for the development of relations between the Russian Federation and the EU from 2000 to 2010”. This document defines just relations on the base of Treaties and not accession or association with the EU as in line with Russia’s interests. As a super-power located on two continents it should preserve its independence. Otherwise it would loose its unique Euro-Asian specifications. (Mommsen: 2000, p. 678)

This attitude is strongly rooted in the Primakov doctrine. But also the European orientation prevailed. On the EU-Russia meeting in May 2000, Putin clearly declared Russia as an European State, comprising also European values. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 679, 680) Nevertheless critics agree, that still geo-economic interests often contradict this declaration and the integration of European values has still a long way to go. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 681)

Already in October 1999 in Helsinki, Putin was confronted with harsh criticism because of the Caucasus conflict. He could not convince the EU of his views. The EU in December suspended the TACIS funds, credits for food and customs privileges and agreed on re-considering its Common Strategy. But already before the next Summit in October 2000 in Paris the sanctions had been lifted. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 682, 683)

Main topic of this Summit was the co-operation in Energy matters. Both sides are strongly interested in trade of Russia’s resources in oil and gas as well as in electric energy. Therefore the Energy Dialogue with regular consultations was set up. Further on the EU and Russia greed to meet from then on twice a year on summit level. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 683)

On the Summit of May 2001 in Stockholm Putin declared Russia’s consent with the enlargement of the EU, but demanded a quick and comprehensive solution for the problems of the Kalinigrad oblast. Other important topics such as an agreement on the support in the removal of nuclear military waste got stuck. (Mommsen: 2002, p. 684)

In November 2002 the EU agreed to define Russia as a full-fledged market economy rather than an economy in transition (EU: 2004a), an important step to WTO accession.

On the 2003 Summit in St. Petersburg the EU and Russia agreed to create in the long term four common spaces: of freedom, security and justice, of co-operation in the field of external security, of research and education and a common economic space. The latter was based on a idea already developed in 1997. (EU: 2004c, Mommsen: 2002, p. 684)

Other important recent developments are the agreement on the transit regime and on financial support for the Kaliningrad oblast, which came into effect in July 2003, and the enlargement of the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement to the new member states. (EU: 2004b)


[1] European Economic Community

[2] below: S.U.

[3] General Secretary of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union (S.U.)

[4] European Community, successor of the EEC

[5] Commonwealth of Independent States

[6] Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States

[7] Central and Eastern European Countries

[8] World Trade Organisation

[9] Foreign Minister from 1996 on and in 1998 for eight months Prime Minister

[10] at this time still Prime Minister

Excerpt out of 20 pages


EU and Russia - a real partnership?
University of Economics, Prague
Contemporary Russia
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
499 KB
Offers an overview over the political relations between the EU and Russia and evaluates their quality and perspectives.
Russia, Contemporary, Russia
Quote paper
Georg Schwedt (Author), 2004, EU and Russia - a real partnership?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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