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Scorecard The Europe Question

Can the EU win the peace in Georgia?

Published on 25 August, 2008

In the aftermath of the Russia-Georgia conflict, the authors of a new report published by the European Council on Foreign Relations urge the 27-member European Union to stand united and act to prevent wider political fallout on the continent.

“The EU should help forge a positive peace from a war which threatens the foundations of the European security order, and should actively engage with its Eastern neighbourhood to resolve ‘frozen conflicts’ and avert new crisis,” authors Nicu Popescu, Mark Leonard and Andrew Wilson argue.

The conflict has sent shockwaves across the post-Soviet space – yet short-term sanctions and punitive action against Russia would be counterproductive. Instead, the paper argues that the EU should follow up the six-point peace agreement with a comprehensive regional strategy for Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus.


The EU has established itself as the main diplomatic broker in the conflict between Russia and Georgia. It should use this position to help forge a positive peace from a war which threatens the foundations of the European security order. Russia has used its conflict with Georgia to display its military power, reclaim a sphere of influence and frighten its neighbours. Rather than looking for punitive measures, the EU should respond to Russia’s demonstration of force with much stronger engagement for democracy, prosperity and security in the broader region - keeping tough measures towards Moscow on the table if Russia resists.

This war was caused in part by the dysfunctionality of the previous ‘peace-keeping’ process in Georgia. The EU must work hard towards ensuring that any new arrangements are not unilateral and do not merely legitimate Russia’s de facto control. The EU should promote an international peace-keeping mission and offer to deploy a civilian reconstruction mission dealing with development, building confidence and security between both sides, and tackling wider political issues. It should also encourage the United Nations to set up a commission of enquiry to help establish the truth on the causes and conduct of the war.

Instead of focusing on short-term sanctions against Russia, the EU should move quickly to raise its profile in the Eastern Neighbourhood and to help stabilise other conflict regions - paying attention both to old ‘frozen’ conflicts and potential new flashpoints. The EU should also make a special commitment to Ukraine: It should recognise its right to EU membership in the future, agree to a more liberal visa regime, offer a solidarity clause backing Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and move to integrate Ukraine into the EU’s energy market.

Click here to download the full report

Click here to read our press release.

This paper represents the views of its authors, and not the collective view of ECFR


Spheres of influence/Esferas de influencia by José Ignacio Torreblanca, El País, 15 September 2008

What to do next with Russia/Que Hacer con Russia? by José Ignacio Torreblanca, El País, 01 September 2008

Summer of discontent by Andrew Duff, Financial Times, 28 August 2008

Ossetia farce/Fasca Osetia by José Ignacio Torreblanca, El País, 27 August 2008

Russia and the Georgian war: the great-power trap by Ivan Krastev, openDemocracy, 20 August 2008

The Georgian conflict: seven points by Alain Minc, Liberation, 18 August 2008

Georgia and Russia can still step back from the brink by Andrew Wilson, Independent on Sunday, 10 August 2008

Web commentaries

Thanks to Russia, NATO is back by Daniel Korski, 22 August 2008

Press clippings

Opening its doors to peace; Bloc drives efforts for a lasting deal in crisis over Georgia, The Washington Times, 15 September 2008

Russia support for separatists could have ripples, Associated Press, 31 August 2008

L'Union européenne et ses voisins de l'Est, Le Monde, 30 August 2008

Unity is strength, The Economist, 28 August 2008

Russia complicates Georgia NATO ambition, Defense News, 27 August 2008

Lawmakers recognize rebel regions, The Moscow Times, 26 August 2008

European diplomats seek civilian monitoring mission to Georgia, International Herald Tribune, 26 August 2008

La ampliación hacia el Este europeo abre nuevas grietas en la OTAN, El País, 24 August 2008

Sarkozy calls crisis EU summit on Georgia, Russia,, 25 August 2008

Raport: Po konflikcie w Gruzji, UE powinna zwrócić uwagę na Ukrainę, Gazeta Wyborcza, 25 August 2008

EU should save Ukraine from Russia, NGO says, EU Observer, 25 August 2008

Wanted: a plan for Ukraine, Financial Times, 25 August 2008

EU prestige on the line over Georgia crisis, Reuters, 25 August 2008

France calls summit on EU-Russia relations, EU Observer, 24 August 2008

After Georgia, EU must commit to Ukraine-think tank, Reuters, 24 August 2008

Crisis in Caucasus exposes confusion within NATO, The Guardian, 23 August 2008

La OTAN enfría las relaciones con Rusia, El País, 20 August 2008

Six days that broke one country - and reshaped the world order, The Guardian, 16 August 2008

Existe un peligro de nuevas guerras en la región, Publico, 16 August 2008

EU diplomats keen to avoid Russia controversy, EU Observer, 13 August 2008

La Géorgie internationalise sa cause mais compromet son entrée à l'Otan, La Depeche, 11 August 2008

Europe y EE UU envian mediadores a detener la lucha, El País, 10 August 2008

EU diplomats fly out to mediate in Russia-Georgia war, EU Observer, 09 August 2008

South Ossetia war a gamble for Georgia, International Herald Tribune, 09 August 2008

Moscú bombardea zonas dentro de Georgia, Publico, 09 August 2008



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