Policy Memos

Europe's Eastern Dimension: Russia's Reaction to Poland's Initiative

Policy Memo:


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The process of European Union enlargement dictates two important and interrelated changes in EU–Russia relations. The first is geographic, as the EU’s borders have pushed eastward to Russia. Second, there is greater room for regional integration patterns where 
the EU and Russia meet.
The EU’s Eastern Dimension (ED) originates from the idea of margins. These margins are described by scholars Chris Browning and Pertti Joenniemi as self-conscious (and often contested) spaces between two or more centers of influence and power. Therefore, in devising the ED as a key component of its foreign policy strategy, Poland has the chance to avoid becoming a frontier state that separates the EU from Eastern Europe, and instead to become the bridge linking the East to the West. Poland’s stand on the ED, however, is torn between moving forward along the post-sovereignty integration track (based on the concept of decreasing importance of borders) and (re)constructing typically sovereign accessories of power as understood in Westphalian terms.
This memo aims to analyze the ED in theoretical and political terms. I start with comparing the ED with its predecessor, the Finnish-initiated Northern Dimension (ND); then turn to the contradictions embedded in the Polish ED discourse; and, lastly, discuss possible Russian reactions to Poland’s ED initiative. [...]

About the author

Visiting Professor, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
University of Tartu, Estonia