The EU’s strategy on Russia and its implications

Push back, constrain and engage – this is how EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell thinks the EU should approach relations with Russia. At the same time, Eastern European states torpedo a joint initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold an EU-Russia summit.

Time and again Brussel splashes with the routine complaints and accusations against Moscow. Deputy head of the RISS Research coordination center Igor Sevastyanov unveils what is hidden behind these unconstructive and yet very general words.


  • J. Borell’s recommendations on guiding the bloc's relations with Moscow, presented at a press conference held to unveil a report outlining a new EU approach toward Russia on June 16th, correspond to F. Mogherini’s five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations in 2016. This approach proved to be counterproductive with the Russian side. For the EU to become a «true geostrategic actor» dialogue with Moscow is essential.

  • Ukrainian issue remains the key irritant in the EU – Russia relations preserving the current impasse in Russia-EU ties. The EU’s stance on Ukraine is a strategic failure of European diplomacy and it shall be reviewed for fruitful cooperation with Moscow.

  • The EU is trying to undermine the regional integration processes in the EAEU space. This political line indicates the EU-centric political mindset in dealing with former Soviet republics.

  • There are political forces in the EU willing to cooperate with Russia on a wide range of issues. The European business community is particularly interested in reviving economic ties with Moscow. However, supported by the U.S. the russophobic minority in Europe continues generating a downward spiral in bilateral relations.
interview Igor Sevastyanov EU