Susan Stewart

The EU, Russia and a Less Common Neighbourhood

Lessons Reinforced by the Vilnius Summit

SWP Comment 2014/C 03, January 2014, 8 Pages

The run-up to and outcomes of the Vilnius summit in November 2013 indicate that the Eastern Partnership is undergoing a period of crisis. This is primarily because the EU and its Eastern partners have not been successful at communicating their respective goals to each other and agreeing on viable methods for reaching them. The same applies to the EU-Russia relationship, which is becoming increasingly dysfunctional, especially with regard to the so-called common neighbourhood. Although the two policy areas interact, a clearer separation between them is currently more justified than a gradual conflation of the two approaches. The summit has highlighted a series of problems that, so far, have been addressed only sporadically or at the rhetorical level. The silver lining of Vilnius can be found in seeing it as an opportunity to analyze these problems systematically in order to modify existing policy to take better account of current realities.