The EU must build a new set of ambitious policies that treats Russia as a major threat to peace and stability in Europe, while continuing to engage with its people. A longer-term Russia strategy begins with a “Ukraine First” policy.
Recent tensions between Paris and Berlin have led some to question the partnership’s purpose and relevance. But a track record of overcoming differences suggests relations can be revived.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has driven European states to reimagine the continent's security architecture. Several have taken concrete steps to reorient their foreign policies, including Germany, which notably chose to increase its defense spending and send weapons to Ukraine in March.
The European Political Community aims to draw EU’s neighbors into its orbit while leaving enough room to accelerate European integration. Doubts remain over the new platform’s ability to overcome the harsh political realities that sunk similar initiatives over the years.
Crises have proven to be a necessary driver for the development of European integration, but they haven’t always led to a strengthened union. While the consequence of each challenge must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, the element of solidarity among EU member states is crucial.
The democratic quality of states, including those in the West, have been declining as of late. More effective diplomatic engagement and political support from the international community may help where governments enforce restrictions on civil society.
Turkey’s positioning as the antithesis of European values, as well as its relationship with Russia, should raise questions about Ankara’s presence in the proposed European Political Community. The EU must not abandon its own principles and convictions in the name of realpolitik.
Political and economic turmoil in Sofia has resulted in the fourth election in just 18 months. Should former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov return to power, the new government is unlikely to take a tough stance against Russia.
International support for Ukraine thus far has focused on immediate priorities. While supplying weapons, sanctioning Russia, and adjusting energy prices are of great importance, a longer-term vision is also needed to ensure a better future for Ukraine.