22 Apr 2009

Synergies vs. Spheres of Influence in the Pan-European Space

Arianna Checchi / Ludmila Gajdosova / George Gavrilis / Noriko Fujiwara / Michael Emerson / Elena Gnedina

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This report investigates whether and how the European Union, in its policies towards Russia, the Eastern partner countries and Central Asia, might build stronger common programmes and projects across these three political ‘spaces’. The aim would be to secure synergies between actions that are presently segmented between these three regions, and especially to induce Russia to become a genuinely cooperative positive-sum game player in the wider European neighbourhood, rather than to continue its efforts to rebuild the former Soviet Union space as its sphere of influence. With this aim in mind, this report examines various policy sectors for the opportunities they present for cooperative action between the EU, Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The tantalising idea is that the current global financial and economic crisis might become the tipping point to set in motion a change of strategic attitudes and thence a cascade of cooperative actions of the kinds outlined in this report.