“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.