EU-Russia relations have often been considered in scholarship to be governed by the dichotomy between conflict and cooperation. Cooperation has often coexisted or overlapped with conflict on a significant number of issues and policy areas, making relations between the two actors very complex. This article explores the dichotomy between conflict and cooperation, highlighting the way it has influenced the two actors' policies towards the Eastern Neighbourhood. It posits that the difference between what the European Union (EU) says and what it does is desired and perpetuated both by Russia, the EU's member states and the countries within the Eastern Neighbourhood. Simultaneously, Moscow is unable to formulate a clear strategy for the Eastern Neighbourhood, which makes its approach geared at providing short-term incentives to corrupt politicians in the countries in the region not sustainable in the long term. In doing so, the article also aims to enquire into the potential for EU-Russia relations to move beyond the well-known conflict-cooperation dichotomy.
- conflict-cooperation dichotomy
- Eastern Neighbourhood
- strategic partnership