WATCH: “Next Steps in the EU Response to Russian Aggression: Building Unity from Diversity”

In building a common response to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the European Union (EU) has had to overcome historically different attitudes towards Russia as well as different degrees of dependence. While the war has been raging since February 2022, this panel discussion examined possible next steps in EU policy, addressing defence, energy and sanctions issues. It drew on insights from the newly published TEPSA book “Russia and the Future of Europe: Views from the Capitals“, which gathers 41 analyses of national debates on policy towards Russia within the EU and in its neighbourhood, written by experts from the TEPSA network and beyond.

In cooperation with the EGMONT Royal Institute for International Relations, TEPSA organised a public debate on the next steps Europe can take in order to respond to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It took place on October 10 at 18:00 CET, in Club Albert (Rue des Petits Carmes 24, 1000, Brussels). Bound by the motto “United in Diversity”, the EU nevertheless suffers from great diversity in the political priorities of its 27 Member States, making it difficult to speak with a single voice especially in the area of foreign policy. In this debate, we seek to find a path forward to build unity from diversity, and level up the EU’s response to Russia’s crime of aggression. The panel was followed by an open Q&A and drinks reception.

  • Heidi Hautala MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament;
  • Stefano Sannino, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service;
  • Paul Schmidt, Secretary-General of the Austrian Society for European Politics (ÖGFE) & co-editor of “Russia and the Future of Europe: Views from the Capitals”;
  • Moderator: Jim Cloos, TEPSA Secretary-General and Senior Associate Fellow at the Egmont Institute.

With this event, TEPSA and the Egmont Institute aimed to provide an overview of how differing historical, economic and political relationships with Russia have impacted the EU’s ability to engage in a uniform response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The event will explore key challenges and opportunities in relation to building a strong and uniform European position towards Russia and discuss the future options for EU policy towards Russia. For an overview of existing EU measures taken against Russia in the context of the war in Ukraine, with a particular emphasis on sanctions, check out the latest episode of EuropeChats!

“Russia and the Future of Europe: Views from the Capitals” is edited by Michael Kaeding, Johannes Pollak and Paul Schmidt, and published by Springer. The book sheds light on how Member States and EU neighbours relate to Russia. It includes their historical, financial and political ties, as well as the public perception of the national population vis-à-vis Russia. Each chapter builds on these factors to elucidate the country’s position towards Russia and provides a prediction on the future of these relations. This volume shows the diverse relations that the EU Member States and neighbours have with Russia, spanning from tense and confrontational to more eased and friendly, highlighting the contrasts between the national state and the EU as a whole. The book also presents the reader with concrete aspects in different policy areas, via recommendations on how single countries and the EU should deal with Russia. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022 will change the relationship between the West and Putin’s Russia for decades to come. No doubt that this blatant violation of International Law and the incomprehensible human suffering of Ukrainian citizens will massively change the attitude of the countries analysed in this book.