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EU-Russia: from cooperation to confrontation?

13 febbraio 2014
San Francesco - Via della Quarquonia 1 (Classroom 1 )
Less than 4 years ago the Rostov Summit launched the EU-Russia Partnership for Modernization, a comprehensive project meant to relaunch strategic and comprehensive relations between the two sides after the crisis of August 2008. Following Brussels’s proposal, the last Summit, held in Brussels on January 28, was held in a new and restricted format in the name of “no business as usual” with Russia. In between, the second half of 2013 was marked by an open confrontation around the Eastern Partnership focused on Ukraine. After Yanukovich’s decision to suspend the signature of the Association Agreement with the EU, many Member States accused Russia of having put “undue pressure” on Kiev to obtain that result. Now it’s Russia’s turn to blame Europe of heating tensions in Ukraine. Russian references to the EU Eastern policy are today very close to the ones previously used for NATO enlargement. On the other side there’s a widespread perception of Moscow’s “neo-soviet” ambitions. Are we heading towards an open competition notwithstanding the strong economic ties? Is the Euroasian project launched by Moscow feeding this competition? What’s the impact of the “conservative ideology” that Putin is proposing to Russia in internal and foreign policy? Should we expect new confrontations around Moldova and Georgia? Is there a division within the EU between the most assertive members and the “Russia-first” supporters and can the EU afford a real confrontation?
Ravagnan, Stefano