Special seminar

Press release — 20 May 2014

On 6 June 2014 the Centre for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS) at the University of Tartu will host a one-day intensive seminar entitled


Venue: Ülikooli 20, 3rd floor

The aim of this event is to provide a forum for academic and policy-relevant analysis and discussion of the new political, economic and security realities in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood, and their implications for EU policy in the region. The results of the Vilnius summit and the subsequent crisis in Ukraine, combined with Russia’s increasingly assertive and aggressive posturing in its “near abroad” have dramatically altered assumptions and understandings that underlie the policies of various actors involved in the region. Within a course of a few months, the already troubled EU-Russia partnership has all but unraveled, and rhetoric emphasizing mutual gains and engagement has been replaced with calls for sanctions, deterrence and containment. EU and Russian involvement in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus has assumed undeniable features of a geopolitical rivalry. Responding to the strategic challenge in the East constitutes a major test of the EU’s unity as well as its foreign policy “actorness.” Many suspect that that the EU is ill-prepared for the great power games that appear to be unfolding at its Eastern borders. The EU is widely regarded as a post-modern actor that is bound by rules, exercises soft power, and prefers a technocratic approach to strategies that are explicitly political. In the post-Crimea world, however, normative foundations of international relations appear shaky, political competition for the hearts and minds of people is fierce, and the traditional centerpieces of interstate relations — hard power, sovereignty and security — are prominently back on the table. Against this backdrop, a major debate on the future of the Eastern Partnership is underway in Brussels, the national capitals and the academia. The EU is not the only actor in need of policy adjustments, however: prospects for Russian-led regional integration projects are unclear, and the dramatic events of the last six months have altered calculations and strategies in several individual Eastern Partnership countries as well as specific EU member states.

The one-day seminar seeks to contribute to these debates by scrutinizing a number of important topics and issues pertaining to EU-Russia relations and the changing dynamics in the EU-Russia “shared” neighbourhood. Presenters and panelists include scholars and policy analysts from Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the USA.

See the preliminary  programme

The event is open to everyone, including students and the general public. However, registration is required. To register, please send an email to Varje Kuut (varje.kuut@ut.ee) by June 3rd at the latest.