28 July 2011


A new Chatham House briefing paper, 'On Europe’s Fringes: Russia, Turkey and the European Union', examines what impact the Turkish and Russian economies – and their relations with each other and Brussels – will have on Europe. Both Turkey and Russia are rising powers on the fringes of a declining European Union, and both countries have awkward relations with Brussels.

Philip Hanson, the paper’s author and an Associate Fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Programme, says Europe should be putting more effort into reviving its engagement with Turkey. European political governance and human rights practices can still serve as good examples for Turkey even if Europe’s economic example has lost some of its allure. In turn, Europe can benefit from Turkey’s economic vitality as well as, politically, from its role as a bridge to the Islamic world.

Mutual energy dependence sustains the relationship between Europe and Russia. However, particularly Turkey should be considered more of a foreign policy partner, though Turkish challenges remain and the EU’s own economic deficiencies suggest it needs to stay circumspect in dealing with both countries.

The EU, while not disengaging from Russia (even if that were possible), should not be looking for a breakthrough in its dealings with Moscow as long as the political and economic regime there remains substantially unchanged.

With 2012 heralding presidential elections in Russia and a Cypriot Presidency of the Council of the EU likely to provoke a reaction from Ankara, Turkey and Russia are poised to attract a significant level of EU attention next year.

Notes to Editors

Read 'On Europe's Fringes: Russia, Turkey and the European Union'

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