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Academic Event – Panel 2: The EU and the Post-Soviet Space

Academic Event – Panel 2: The EU and the Post-Soviet Space

The Garbage Can Model of European Neighborhood Policy: The Case of Ukraine

Jozef Bátora, Comenius University, Slovakia


Abstract: Jozef Bátora, Comenius University, Slovakia and Pernille Rieke, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Norway

This paper argues that the framework of European Neighborhood Policy has been developing from a rationally planned set of processes coherent across countries of the neighborhood towards a differentiated set of ‘garbage can’ type of a process. The article identifies two broad tendencies of change. The first one concerns the nature of the European Neighborhood Policy framework as such. Originally, this was conceived of and implemented as a relatively coherent set of policies. We identify a development towards a differentiated collection of tailor-made association policies fitting specific needs and situations of individual countries in the neighborhood. The second dimension of change concerns the nature of decision-making and implementation of policies in individual neighboring countries. Here, the original model of a rational process consisting of detailed action plans, monitoring, reporting and progress assessment of reforms has given way to a set of loosely coupled processes involving various interests, problems, solutions and decision-making situations corresponding to what Cohen, March and Olsen (1972) refer to as garbage can model of decision-making. EU institutions and EU member states entertain various forms of engagement with the countries in the neighborhood resulting in multiple and often loosely coupled forms of adaptation.

The paper demonstrates this shift using evidence from the case of Ukraine building on recent data collected by the study of official documents as well as a set of interviews with diplomats and officials of the EEAS and other EU institutions and of member states. Based on the analysis, we offer a new conceptual understanding of the EU’s neighborhood policy and its implications for the nature of the EU’s external relations.


An Increasingly Geopolitical Relationship: The Evolution of Security Issues in the EU’s Approach towards Russia and the Post-Soviet Space

Cristian Nitoiu, London School of Economics, UK



EU-Russia relations have been traditionally characterized by the dichotomy between conflict and cooperation. This has influenced the abstract nature of the EU-Russia strategic partnership which does not focus on security issues. However, the Ukraine crisis has had a deep impact on the EU’s foreign policy and its approach towards Russia. It highlighted that the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood is characterized by intense geopolitical competition with Russia. The crisis also underscored the weakness of the EU’s technocratic approach in its relations with Russia and post-Soviet space. On the other hand, Russia’s actions in Ukraine have made the member states more willing to act together and recognise Russia as a security threat. In turn, EU-Russia relations have entered a period of stalemate.

In this context, the paper looks at how security issues have influence EU foreign policy towards Russia and post-Soviet space since the inception of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2004 to up until the announcement of the revision of the ENP in early 2015. It achieves this by focusing particularly on three key moments which have made the EU frame in more geopolitical terms its relation with Russia and the post-Soviet space. These are: the Georgian-Russian war of 2008, the revision of the ENP between 2010-2011 and the Vilnius summit in the autumn of 2013 (as the spark for the Ukraine crisis). The paper finds that since the Georgian-Russian war security issues have attained a higher profile in the EU’s approach towards Russia and post-Soviet space. Moreover, the paper highlights that Russia’s actions in Ukraine have strengthened in Brussels and in various European capitals the idea that the EU has to develop a clear security strategy for the region.




The Prospects of the European Mediation and Peacekeeping in Ukraine

Hanna Shelest, NGO “Promotion of Intercultural Cooperation”, Ukraine, Friedrich Ebert Foundation Young Expert’s Network



Many of the European Union member-states had a long history of conflicts resolution and mediation, however Union as a whole has been rarely seen in this capacity in the past, mostly due to the limited approach, based on the confidence-building and post-conflict reconstruction priorities in its instruments set, and quite often, inability to find a consensus for the joint strong position in conflict settlement. Even more specific was a European Union peacekeeping activity, which has been mostly aspired after police missions or supporting the UN activities, more seldom, acting in a framework of the old post-colonial connections between the separate member states and countries in conflict.

The situation started changing in 2008, when the EU for the first time attempted to act as a single mediator in the Russian-Georgian conflict, being involved on a hot stage of its development. The disputes still going on whether this mediation can be considered as successful, as the fighting was stopped but the peace has not been reached and separatists regions announced their independence, supported and recognized by Russia. But ability to act as a single actor had a significant effect on perception of the European Union as a reliable and possible mediator in the region.

The Ukrainian crisis of 2014 brought a new challenge for the EU. As integration with it was seen as one of the reasons for the crisis, so it could not stay apart, however, due to the dissonance in the positions and approaches of the member-states, the EU was not able to become a real mediator. Appearance of the Normandy format with German and French as mediators became an evidence of this. The call of the Ukrainian side to send the EU peacekeeping mission became an additional question of concern, as neither Ukraine realized the format it needed nor the EU has sufficient capacity to deploy.

In this article, we will try to answer the following questions:

1) Do the EU Common Defense and Security Policy consider the mechanisms and perspectives of the joint mediation and peacekeeping missions?

2) Is the EU an equal and reliable partner in peacekeeping and mediation activities in the European conflicts? What are its weaknesses and risks?

3) Why the EU is not presented as a single mediator in the Ukrainian conflict, and can the situation be transformed?

4) What are the perspectives of the EU peacekeeping mission in Ukraine?

5) Will the EU involvement in Ukrainian crisis decrease or increase the role of the Union at the international security arena.



EU’s Structural Power in Eastern European Neighbourhood: Can the Eastern Partnership Bring about a Change?

Panagiota Manoli, University of the Aegean, Greece, Friedrich Ebert Foundation Young Expert’s Network



The Eastern Partnership (EaP) was launched in 2009 to complement the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as a novel kind of external governance and integration policy in EU’s eastern borders, promoting a community consciousness. Its primary mandate was the establishment of a single, coherent policy framework towards countries that became the new EU eastern neighbourhood partners following EU’s ‘big bang’ enlargement. There is ample debate about the success of EaP spurred especially by the Ukrainian crisis of 2013/14 and the slowdown in democratic reforms and setbacks in regional stability. Though ENP has been widely interpreted as a system of external governance in which the European Union (EU) combines the pursuit of general foreign policy goals with the partial extension of its own regulatory framework (Lavenex 2004), the EaP has been viewed through the prism of power politics. This paper sets to examine how the EaP constitutes a means to shape and determine the structure of regional political economy within which Eastern partners and other actors in the region have to operate. In adopting the concept of structural power (in security, production, finance and knowledge), rather than relational power, the paper seeks to explain how the EaP is a manifestation of EU’s structural power and simultaneously a tool of structure change in the eastern neighbourhood. Structural power confers the power to ‘…define how things shall be done, the power the shape frameworks, within which states relate to each other, relate to people, or relate to corporate enterprises’, it is thus exercised without overt coercion. The notion of structural power is used in the paper as an appropriate notion to understand the less ‘visible’ EaP power and its ability to exert EU’s influence over structures rather than states themselves in Eastern neighbourhood. The main thrust of the paper is not to account for EaP’s success or failure. It is to account for the structural underpinnings of EU’s engagement with eastern partners through the EaP and to discuss EaP as a European policy tool in addressing EU’s complex (foreign) policy priorities in eastern neighbourhood.



Miloš Popović


Alexander Graef