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  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine has unleashed a storm of grief and anger in the EU and around the world. Heads of state and government have joined the public outcry and called for tough action against those directly and indirectly responsible for this heinous crime. The EU's reaction, however, has been lame so far by comparison.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Denis Cenusa, Tamara Kovziridse, Veronika Movchan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While EU and US sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and Russia's counter-sanctions, are much discussed due to their evident political significance, less attention has been given to Russia's punitive sanctions against the three Eastern European states – Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – that have signed with the EU Association Agreements (AA), which include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions. This paper therefore documents these trade policy restrictions and embargoes imposed by Russia, and provides some first indications of their impact. The immediate impact on trade flows, especially for agri-food products, has been substantial, albeit with some leakage through Belarus. The main instrument for the Russian measures has been allegations of non-conformity with Russian technical standards, although the correlation of these allegations with movements in Russia's geopolitical postures makes it obvious that the Russian technical agencies are following political guidelines dressed up as scientific evidence. These measures also push the three states into diversifying their trade marketing efforts in favour of the EU and other world markets, with Georgia already having taken significant steps in this direction, since in its case the Russian sanctions date back to 2006. In the case of Ukraine, Russia's threat to cancel CIS free trade preferences infiltrated trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia, leading on 12 September to their proposed postponement until the end of 2015 of the 'provisional' implementation of a large part of the AA/DCFTA. This was immediately followed on 16 September by ratification of the AA/DCFTA by both the Rada in Kyiv and the European Parliament, which will lead to its full and definitive entry into force when the 28 EU member states have also ratified it. However Putin followed the day after with a letter to Poroshenko making an abusive interpretation of the 12 September understanding.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
  • Author: Andrei Makarychev, Alexander Sergunin
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This policy brief analyses the state of EU–Russian relations as seen from the vantage point of the summit held on June 9-10 in Nizhny Novgorod. We describe the political context in which the summit was embedded, the anticipations it evoked from the both sides, its outcomes and some perspectives for the nearest future.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Roderick Kefferputz
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Climate change in the Arctic is expected to make the region a lot busier as new strategic resources become available. The Russian Federation is a key player in this context, having put forth a comprehensive Arctic strategy. Russian policy towards the so-called High North, however, is oftentimes not seen in its entirety and has received a plethora of criticism in the Western media and foreign policy community. This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of Russian actions in the High North by providing a succinct overview of Russian policies in the region and identifying the fundamental rationale behind them. The paper concludes that Russia's Arctic policy is not only a lot more nuanced but also not very different from the policies conducted by other riparian states.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Andrew Macintosh
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Clearly the natural gas market is experiencing considerable change: a second Ukraine-Russia gas crisis, a collapse in the price of natural gas, a new European natural gas security of supply regulation and the mass production of natural gas from unconventional sources in the US as a result of technological advancements, which could yet have an impact on the EU. This Policy Brief is a summation of the European Union's vulnerability to natural gas supply security risks.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Elena Gnedina
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The 2009 gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia has led to a severe drop in Russian gas supplies to some EU member states. The dispute has once again shown that the status quo is defective and unsustainable as a policy. This Policy Brief argues that – beyond ad hoc temporary measures, such as the monitoring by EU experts agreed on January 12th and the 2009-10 price agreement apparently reached on January 18th – the problem needs a comprehensive and robust solution. This would be a gas transit consortium, bringing all major stakeholders – Gazprom, Naftohaz, one or a few European energy companies, and the international financial institutions – to jointly manage the trans-Ukrainian trunk pipeline. The consortium agreement would be underwritten politic ally and legally by a tripartite treaty to be ratified by the EU, Russia and Ukraine. The consortium should be bound by European standards of transparency, corporate governance and accounting in order to tackle the major problem – the lack of trust – in the EU- Ukraine-Russia energy triangle.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Jos Boonstra
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Central Asia faces a broad range of security challenges. Due to the region's position at the crossroads between Russia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the Caspian Sea it is confronted with a range of trans-national issues such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, organised crime and terrorism. Central Asia also encounters specific regional threats including scarcity of water resources for generating power and irrigation purposes, which is currently causing tension. On a national level the five Central Asian republics face the threat of instability due to bad governance and the harsh impact of the economic crisis.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Europe, Iran, Central Asia
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The recent past has been a miserable time for political relations between Russia and both the EU and the US. While business has been booming on the back of Russia's huge gains from the skyrocketing price of oil and gas, the foreign policy scene has been desolate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The small war between Georgia and Russia from 8 to 22 August 2008 has shattered any remaining illusions over the frontiers of the normative map of Europe. All the primary parties have to be criticised: Russia for setting a trap for Saakashvili to fall into, the Georgian leadership for its astounding military and political blunder in falling into it, and the United States for having failed to restrain its protégé. The first consequence is that Georgia has paid the price of Saakashvili's folly, with the definitive loss of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The second consequence is triggered by Russia's continued occupation of strategic points in Georgia-proper, which means not peacekeeping but threatened strangulation of the Georgian economy and its role in the transit of oil and gas from the Caspian to the West. It also means that business as usual has become impossible, as already announced between NATO and Russia, and with more important decisions pending in both the EU and US. The third consequence is that the EU should immediately step up its policies to integrate Ukraine, with real perspectives of membership subject to the standard criteria. The fourth unknown consequence is how far this deteriorating process between Russia and the West will go. Russia may pretend, with its petro-power and wealth, to be immune from any actions by the West, but beyond the short-term it is vulnerable. Whatever these unknowns, already Russia has crossed a red line with its strategic occupation of Georgia-proper, rather than the option just to push Georgia out of South Ossetia. This latter option would have met with widespread understanding internationally. But with its chosen option Russia has placed itself in another category, which is a throwback to earlier times, and totally incompatible with the political and moral principles of modern Europe.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, War, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Eastern Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Hakim Darbouche
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's statement to Spain's El País1 that the idea of a 'gas-OPEC' should not a priori be excluded, adds to a series of twists, among which was Vladimir Putin's confirmation on 1 February that the idea of a gas cartel was an 'interesting one' worth considering further. Hitherto, this gas saga featured Russia, Algeria, the EU, NATO and Iran. The story revolves around Russian-Algerian mingling on gas matters, spurring European and Transatlantic concerns over the prospects of a 'gas OPEC'. At a time of increasing European dependence on foreign energy supplies, these developments have been interpreted as being part of a wider effort, led by Russia, to use energy as a lever to undermine European diplomacy. These allegations have been dismissed by Algeria and Russia, whose leaders insist that their cooperation is intended to optimise their benefits and those of their customers alike. This paper examines the underpinnings of these developments by assessing the likelihood of their culmination in a gas cartel and offers an insight into the potential policy choices behind them.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Algeria