The decision of the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovitch not to sign the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement has plunged the EU into a deep crisis. Seen in its most positive light, this shock offers a potential “new start” for the policy. The EU should seize this chance.
Despite the authoritarian tendencies of the Russian leadership, the protests of the past year have shown that Russian society is interested in greater political participation. It is time to replace Germany's elite-dominated Russia policy with a more balanced approach.
The EU needs to develop a more realistic assessment of Russia. The often knee-jerk reactions to political developments in Moscow and oversimplified readings of Russian foreign policy inhibit a more pragmatic European approach to Russia.
On the eve of the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius Mark Leonard talks to Hryhoriy Nemyria (Chairman of the Committee on European Integration in the Ukrainian Parliament), Alexander Gabuev (journalist at Kommersant, one of Russia's leading newspapers), and ECFR's Stefan Meister about Ukraine and the EU's neighborhood policy. Bookshelf recommendations: Zbig: The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzezinski and Mr Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.