This Clingendael Report by Peter van Ham outlines a framework for a new, more realistic and practical EU–Russia relationship. The EU should acknowledge the urgent necessity to cooperate with Russia, politically and militarily, to fight jihadism and the Islamic State. This new reality should be appreciated as an opportunity to leave the existing impasse in EU–Russia relations. It also sends the clear message that in a greater, geostrategic framework, Russia is the EU’s partner, rather than its rival.
This Clingendael Report argues that the EU should ensure that its Association Agreement with Ukraine will be compatible with Kiev’s commitments of free trade with Russia. Political leaders should also clarify that Ukraine is unlikely to join the EU (and NATO) anytime soon. Ukraine’s Donbass region should be pacified and stabilized, preferably under a United Nations Interim Administration. The EU should also initiate a high-level platform to discuss prospects to modify Europe’s security architecture. Finally, the EU should start an organized conversation with Russia about European norms and values. Although the political ramifications of this ‘deal’ with Russia will not be to everybody’s liking, the likely outcome will ultimately be to everyone’s benefit, including Ukraine’s.
The full report is published as online publication.