In Eastern Europe, 2014 has been characterized by a remarkable return on the part of Russia to the lands of the former republics of the Soviet Union. In much the same way as Moscow opposed Georgia in 2008 when South Ossetia seceded, this year it has supported Crimea against Ukraine, paving the way for that region to join the Russian federation And it continues to stand out against the authorities in Kiev, particularly by supporting rebellion in Ukraine in the crisis that has beset that country since the turn of the year.
In this context, the European Union is in a decidedly uncomfortable position, torn as it is between its principles (respect for sovereignty and international borders) and its energy dependency (on Russian gas). However, though Russo-European relations do pose a problem in the short term, in the long term, as this column shows, they seem set for a bright future. Jean-François Drevet begins by reminding us of the dangers facing relations between Brussels and Moscow in recent days and the inherent causes of that situation, but goes on to show how well the two entities complement each other in the long term, taking the view that the tricky phase they are currently going through ought not to prevent the European Union and Russia from developing fruitful relations in a slightly more distant future.