“Interdependence as a Leitmotif in the EU’s Russia Policy” – Research Contribution by IEP Director Dr. Katrin Böttger

In her recent publi­cation on the subject of “Inter­de­pen­dence as a Leitmotif in the EU’s Russia Policy: A Failure to Live Up to Expec­ta­tions”, Dr. Katrin Böttger traces the bilateral relations between the EU and Russia. She shows that since the early 1990s mutual inter­de­pen­dence has been an essential factor in the rapprochement between Western Europe and Russia.

The paper is part of the book “Post-Crimea Shift in EU-Russia Relations: From Fostering Inter­de­pen­dence to Managing Vulner­a­bil­ities” published by the Inter­na­tional Centre for Defence and Security in Tallin. In her chapter she examines the changes in the EU-Russia inter­de­pen­dence by analyzing the devel­opment of bilateral agree­ments and key documents, and identifies three phases: the period of political rapprochement during the 1990s, which had been charac­terized by a high level of cooper­ation and a positive conno­tation of inter­de­pen­dence, followed by a phase of disen­chantment and gradual deteri­o­ration of relations during the 2000s, and eventually the beginning of a deep political crisis in 2014 after Russia’s annex­ation of Crimea.

Since then, this political crisis and the subse­quently imposed sanctions revealed the strong necessity for the EU to counter­balance the negative inter­de­pen­dence, which now partic­u­larly exists in the economic and energy sector, in the medium and long-term. According to Katrin Böttger’s conclusion, the EU should therefore funda­men­tally redefine its interests towards Russia and align them to the EU Global Strategy.

This contri­bution was written in the context of the project “The European Union and Russia in Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus: Integration rivalry between East and West?” as well as part of the IEP’s transna­tional academic networking. The IEP has been maintaining close ties with the editors Kristi Raik and András Rácz as well as with the Inter­na­tional Centre for Defence and Security as a strategic partner insti­tution for a long time.