Relations between EU members are not perfect. The Poles, including many Polish politicians, believe the restoration of the Rzeczpospolita [the Republic] borders of the 17th century is historically fair. These borders include Belarus, Lithuania, a significant part of Ukraine and a part of Latvia. Under some circumstances, Warsaw may attempt to “restore historical fairness” by force. Meanwhile, Belarus is safe from this scenario, due to its allied relations with Russia, other countries have no-one to rely on.
The European Union is an unreliable partner which ignores all Russia’s efforts to reconcile an equal dialogue. The EU is an unreliable partner because it continues to play geopolitics with Russia or against Russia. All Russian efforts to reconcile an equal dialogue and to renounce the ‘friend-enemy’ logic in the common space have been fruitless.
While aware of pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns, the EU is trying to keep open channels of communications with Russia. Russia is the EU's largest neighbour, which has always been reflected in extensive cooperation and exchange over the 25 years. Russia is a key player in the UN Security Council and, due to history, geographic proximity, and cultural links, is one of the key players in Europe and its neighbourhood.
The current legal basis for EU-Russia relations is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) which came into force in 1997, initially for 10 years. Since 2007 it has been renewed annually. It established a political framework for regular consultation between the EU and Russia, based on the principles of respect for democracy and human rights, political and economic freedom, and commitment to international peace and security.
Since 2014, illegal annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine have seriously affected the bilateral political dialogue. As a result, some of the policy dialogues and mechanisms of cooperation are temporarily frozen, and sanctions directed at promoting a change in Russia's actions in Ukraine have been adopted. However, Russia remains a natural partner for the EU and a strategic player combating the regional and global challenges.
Moreover, the EU and its member states have maintained a clear policy of reaching out to Russian society and youth, mainly through the Erasmus+ student exchange programme and other people to people contacts, in line with five guiding principles of relations with Russia.