How important is Russia??™s role in the European Union??™s security concerns
Russia is a country in northern Eurasia (Europe and Asia together). It is a semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects. Russia shares land borders with the following countries Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (via Kaliningrad Oblast), Poland (via Kaliningrad Oblast), Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, many of these such as Latvia, Lithuania and being members of the European Union. It also has maritime borders with Japan the Republic of Korea (by the Sea of Japan), Sweden (by the Baltic Sea), Turkey (by the Black Sea), and the United States (by the Bering Strait). At 17,075,400 square kilometres (6,592,800 sq mi), Russia is, in area, by far the largest country in the world, covering more than an eighth of the Earth??™s land area; with 142 million people, it is the ninth largest by population. It extends across the whole of northern Asia and 40% of Europe, spanning 11 time zones, and incorporating a wide range of environments and landforms. Russia has the worlds largest reserves of mineral and energy resources, and is considered an energy superpower. Russia established worldwide power and influence from the times of the Russian Empire to being the largest and leading constituent of the Soviet Union, the worlds first and largest constitutionally socialist state and a recognized superpower.
My essay will be based on three major sections. Firstly describing the importance of the term ???security??? in context with the European Union, then going into how much progress has already been made between the EU and Russia on issues of security , my third section will focus very briefly on how it is impractical for Russia to join the EU at least at this stage and then finish my say with an overall conclusion. My main argument being that Russia is indeed important to the EU but at this stage where Russia currently is ??“ not very economically and politically stable, Russia has a long way to go, addressing the requirements in order for it to become a member of the EU. Furthermore Russia being a great global player is in fact plays a key role in the European Union??™s security concerns, this is what my essay will be based on.
To recall my question again: ???How important is Russia??™s role in the European Union??™s security concerns. Firstly it is essential to define the term ???security??? in the context of the European Union. In general sense one would think that security directly relates to the military aspect or some kind of defence mechanism but when talking about the European Union, security defines four key criteria which are : economic, social, political and ethnic. Defence is also integrated in the context but not at a high level. The European Union??™s concept of security is a notion of civilian superpower whereas on the other hand the US conception of security is a notion of military might. It is crucial to understand the broadness of the term ???security??? in my project as it will enable you to understand the significant role security plays in the European Union.
??? Economic and trade relations between the EU and Russia are strong and getting stronger, Russia is already our third most important trading partner and we see growth rates up to 20% a year. Energy is a major factor but there is impressive growth rates in services too, with its recent high growth rates and emerging middle class, Russia is an important emerging market right on our doorstep that offers opportunities for EU businesses. opportunities for EU businesses, notwithstanding the effects of the present financial crisis. The EU is a major investor in Russia, accounting for 80% of cumulative foreign investment. A significant share of Russian foreign reserves are in euro, making Russia one of the largest holders of euro-denominated assets in the world. For all these reasons, we have a stake in the continuing growth of the Russian economy. ???
this quote is taken from the speech made my Benita Ferrero Waldner who is the commissioner for external relations of European Neighbourhood Policy , on Strasbourg on October 21st 2008.
Social ??“ Many or Russia??™s border countries are members of the EU and this causes dilemma within the EU when Russia has issue with its border countries for example with Latvia. The issue in Latvia regarding the minority of Russians living in Latvia and facing hardships by the Latvian government causes dilemma for the EU. Latvia being an EU member and Russia being a potential member and important partner to the EU, the EU has to protect its relationships with both these countries and hence plays a balanced role. Russia??™s clashes with its regional borders causes concerns but Russia does seem to listen to the EU like how it did recently , withdrawing its troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia??™s social aspect with the EU is an amicable relationship but the problem arises when its clashes with its regional border countries also appear to be EU members.
Third and fourth aspect of security are ethics and political. Russia is a very stubborn country and even though it likes to do what it wants, Russia does understand that its relationship with the EU is important. The corruption levels however in Russia is very high, ranking 147th between Bangladesh and Kenya. Russia is consistent with key democratic principles but it??™s very unlikely to play on international rules that will require it to fundamentally reform its own system. Human rights issues are also something Russia needs to work on and with the instructions from the EU, Russia has recently reduced tightening of the freedom of press.
I quote from Benita Ferrero Waldner??™s speech:
??? For the EU, Russia is an important geopolitical actor whose constructive involvement in international affairs is a necessary precondition for an effective international community???
The Common Foreign Secretary Policy is the newest security aspect which has been introduced by the EU. The EU feels it is essential that it holds ties with Russia especially for its CFSP as Russia is situated geographically well. The achievement of the CFSP is possible but not plausible in the upcoming future, mainly because as the EU expands its borders with mew members joining, a number of foreign issues will come into play, sharing a border with Russia will definitely result in more foreign issues. Without Russia, its is difficult for the EU to create a strong CFSP, the need to engage with Russia more directly is a consequence of proximity. Gerhard Schroder, politician and the German Chancellor from 1998 to 2005 said that ??? We must integrate Russia into Europe economically and politically as well as in areas such as security and defence???, Talking a bit more about defence , The EU and Russia have a common interest in pursuing the non-proliferation of weapons and mass destruction.
Russia is a key strategic partner in the external area of justice, freedom and security and this sector is a fast growing component of overall EU-Russia relations. There are many shared interests to both Russia and the European Union. The latest developments are , the two agreements on visa facilitation and on readmission for the repatriation of EU, Russian and third-country nationals illegally residing in the EU or the Russian Federations territory were initialled on 4 April 2006 . This event marked the formal completion of negotiations between the two sides. The agreements, which are a milestone in EU-Russia relations, will shortly be signed with a view to enter into force. The visa facilitation and readmission agreements will open the way for easier travel and contacts across the European continent while creating conditions for effectively fighting illegal migration. The EU and Russia also agreed to intensify their dialogue on visa policy aimed at examining the conditions for a visa free travel regime as a long term perspective, as it was set out in the Common Space on Freedom, Security and Justice.
The EU-Russia relationship is formally conducted within the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) framework which established a Justice and Home Affairs Sub-Committee. Justice, Freedom and Security issues are also regularly discussed at the six-monthly EU/Russia Summits. Many high level meetings regularly take place to discuss a wide range of subjects. At a practical level, recently have jointly developed specific instruments to strengthen cooperation in the field of justice, freedom and security such as the joint Action Plan on organised crime, and its implementation tool, the EU Liaison Officers network. More than a ?†110 million has been spent on Justice and Home Affairs projects, notably on border management and support to the judicial cooperation, including judicial reform.
The EU-Russia St Petersburg Summit of May 2003 agreed to develop four Common Spaces to serve the objective of an enlarged Europe without new dividing lines. One of the four Common Spaces is the Common Space of Freedom, Security and Justice as a cornerstone for developing future cooperation in this area. The St. Petersburg statement confirmed the importance of common values, which both sides pledged to respect, as the basis on which to further strengthen the strategic partnership.
Russia and the EU signed the Europol Russia in November 2003 which provides for a framework for cooperation on criminal matters between Europol and the Russian police. Areas of cooperation recently between the EU and Russia have been : border management, enhancing migration management, combating money laundering, cooperation on the fight against drug trafficking, cooperation between police liaison officers, judicial cooperation and reform of the judicial and legal system in Russia and the cooperation in the fight against the organised crime and terrorism. It has taken years and a lot of meetings and summits for the EU and Russia to tighten its cooperation in working together. Russia being a great power and a country with many advantages and strengths, is definitely an important partner for the EU.
The next issue , talking about future plans, is that will Russia ever become a member of the EU or is Russia a separate empire on its own . As my essay does not wholly look into this aspect I have briefly tried to collaborate Russia??™s ability in becoming or not becoming a member as I feel it is crucial to outline if its possibilities of becoming a member of the EU is a threaten to some countries or an overall prosperity to the whole. Firstly, Russia??™s population will outdo the entire population of the EU and hence votes will be higher than votes of the countries in the EU. Will Russia join the Western family or be left out in the cold, perhaps to recreate the problems of the past That is partly down to how the EU treats Russia, membership of the EU in the short-term is impractical, Russia??™s democracy and economy are not sufficiently developed; and the EU is not large enough to absorb such a large country in its present stage of development.
Secondly the ideology behind why US is against Russia becoming closer to the EU. I quote from an article titled ??? 50 years of European Integration and Russia??? by former President Vladimir Putin ???It is an open secret that the US is rather unhappy about Russian- EU cooperation in terms of economic relations and politics alike. The US makes use of the newly integrated EU members states, which greatly depend on US support and funding, for driving a wedge between the EU and Russia. ??? I believe that Russia however should eventually become a member of the EU this will off course take time but the US will not be pleased as this will dramatically increase the power of the EU on the world stage and dramatically reduce the influence of the US. US being a close partner to the EU , especially to the UK which is a superiorly powerful member of the EU, has to maintain its amiability with the US, Russia and US being rivals for decades and the EU and Russia becoming closer via security means causes a triangle of sensitivity between these three superpowers.
Heading to my conclusion, In my opinion, Russia is far large a country with such an extending border, Europe has to hold hands with Russia in order to protect its own self-interests and security. Russia is partly of the east and partly of the west, Russians are too numerous to see themselves as just another tribe turned nations state of Europe. Russia sees itself as the outside arbiter of Inter-European and Inter Asian conflicts.
Even though Russia has tightened its ties with the EU , it still has a long way to go if the question of becoming a member of the EU rises. The common ideology of mankind is that in order to achieve and accomplish there must always be some kind of competition. Rivalry creates unity.
I quote from the article titled – ???50 years of European Integration and Russia??? published by Vladimir Putin,
??? The interests of Russia and the European Union cannot, without doubt, be in complete agreement at all times. Competition is the other side of cooperation and an unalienable part of the globalization process. In the meantime, the EU nations should not politicize their economic ties with Russia. ??? Russia??™s role with the EU is a prosperous and significant relationship. Trade and the issue of the Common Security Foreign Policy I must say are the two vital importance the EU currently has with Russia. Russia spreads throughout two continents, it is a global player and even though Russia has a lot to work on itself like conquering corruption, and its recent war in Georgia made people question Russia??™s reliability as a partner to the EU, Russia has after several months of harsh statements and numerous discussions, Russia and the EU seem closer than ever. This collaboration I must say will always have a form of rivalry but as long as Russia and the EU have their talks as written and signed agreements both these powers have to comply and compromise in order to create a stronger power.
I end with a quote from the News Conference which followed the Russia-EU summit in May 22 2009,
??? We think that this kind of partnership enables us to respond to the most complex challenges and resolve even the most complex problems, including the financial and economic crisis. We will continue to work together to develop our economic relations, fight international terrorism and trans-border crime, and address other threats to humanity??™s development.???
These words were said by current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.