Yauheni Preiherman, Roza Turarbekova, Elena Korosteleva, Christian Bluth
In recent years, not only official but also expert-level discussions about pan-European integration processes have been marred by geopolitical tensions and lack of dialogue between Russia and the EU. This inevitably affects the relations (or lack of them) between the region-building projects promoted by Moscow and Brussels: the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Eastern Partnership (and, in a broader sense, the European Neighbourhood Policy).
However, the practical need to develop cooperative ties and mutually reinforce integration and interregional effects for the benefit of common people, businesses and governments keeps the issue relevant for researchers’ and policy-makers’ agenda. Thus, the core challenge today is to go beyond geopolitics-loaded discourses and focus on practical opportunities and challenges to pan-European integration processes.
The idea of this discussion paper is to contribute to the intellectual thinking in this direction, i.e. to support the efforts of those experts who are trying to focus not on the question “why is progress impossible?”, but rather on a more complicated question “how to make even minimal progress feasible”?
Analysis, in any way, has to begin with the context, framework conditions and the general atmosphere in Russia-West relations. The latter are highly unfavourable for a discussion about ways to facilitate EU-EEU cooperation. Lack of political will on both sides a priori undermines forward-looking ideas. Nonetheless, the contributors to this paper see pan-European integration processes as a normative necessity. We believe that when political will is missing Track-II initiative can and has to take the lead.
The full text of the discussion paper is in the attached file below.