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The implications of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) on the EU-Russian 'Strategic Partnership'

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The 'shared neighbourhood' is a common challenge for both the future of the EU-Russian Strategic Partnership and the new European Neighbourhood Policy. Whether in the Strategic Partnership or in the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Russian Federation is considered by the European Union as a key partner. Nevertheless, the EU policy towards Russia is unclear and the relationship between both remains highly ambiguous. The actual 'strategic partnership' is still very fragile in spite of recent declarations and developments. The main problem is the security partnership: EU and Russia have to co-operate in the field of security (soft and hard security) and stability but they do not know how. The implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2005 might be a chance for the EU to give more substance and more consistency to their policy towards the new neighbours. But on the contrary, the ENP seems to intensify the constraints. The ENP lacks coherence with respect to the existing EU -Russian Strategic partnership: Firstly, the place of Russia in the ENP is nothing but clear. Russia is 'half in half out'. Secondly, the Russian factor is largely under estimated in the EU policies towards the new neighbours. Thirdly, the role imagined for Russia in the implementation of the secure and stable area is not clarified.


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