Recent developments within the European Union affect not only its internal construction but also its relations with its Eastern European neighbors, including Russia. This memo discusses the ramifications of the Eurozone crisis for the EU’s future and for its neighborhood policy, new trends in German Ostpolitik, and the repercussions of both these developments on post-Soviet states. The memo argues that the EU is becoming a more fragmented and less normative (value-ridden) political entity and might weaken its trans-Atlantic commitments.
Under these conditions, Russia can be expected to try and consolidate its sphere of influence, in particular to tighten its grip on Ukraine. However, such an approach threatens to foster Russia’s alienation from Europe and, in the end, may prove fruitless. Instead, Russia should more actively engage in trilateral relations with Germany and Poland, the two EU states perhaps most interested in developing new formats of communication with Moscow. A new start in Russia-EU relations should also include professional and open discussions on a number of pressing issues, including conflict resolution, the compatibility of the Eurasian Union project with a possible EU-Russia visa-free regime, and a new form of dialogue between civil societies. […]