Realpolitik Hits Back? the Challenges to the Eu's External Relations in the Neighbourhood

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
S13 (13 rue de l'Université)
Tatiana Skripka , Maastricht University
The recent events in Ukraine force the EU to reconsider not only prospects for its strategic partnership with Russia, an increasingly unpredictable partner, but also commitment to enhanced cooperation with the Eastern neighbouring states. Just in how far is the EU willing to support its neighbours to the East against Russia’s belligerent foreign policies?

The ENP explicitly denied a membership perspective for its target states, and the Association Agreements signed in June 2014 with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine remained carefully non-committal about accession. However, the recent events in Ukraine push the Eastern ENP states closer to the EU, which increasingly puts pressure on the EU to take a position on the future of its cooperation with the Eastern neighbours.

In his recent article ‘Why the Ukraine’s Crisis is the West’s Fault: The Liberal Delusions that Provoked Putin’, John Mearsheimer criticizes the EU and US for their ‘misbegotten policy’ on the post-Soviet space and belief ‘that the logic of realism holds little relevance in the twenty-first century and that Europe can be kept whole and free on the basis of such liberal principles as the rule of law, economic interdependence, and democracy’.

The paper will critically analyse the opportunities and limitations of the EU’s relations with its Eastern neighbours. It will investigate whether Russia’s realpolitik foreign policy upsets the EU’s external relations strategy based on respect for shared norms – a strategy that fosters regional cooperation as a value in itself and as a means of safeguarding peace and economic development.