Central and Eastern Europe

Research focuses on the relationship between the EU, its member states in the region, and Russia, as well as growing economic ties with Africa.

The future of the European Union (EU) looms large in the issues facing the Central and Eastern Europe region, as the EU’s 21st century expansion has largely been drawn from here - the grouping EU11 is often used to refer to the Central, Eastern and Baltic European member states that joined in 2004, 2007 and 2013.

As the EU has expanded, Poland has become an important EU member state in driving engagement with the EU’s neighbours to the east - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. But change is in the air as relationships between the countries threaten to fracture, and Russia deepens its own influence over post-Soviet states with a growing Eurasian Union - potentially in competition with the EU.

Meanwhile central Europe - which incorporates major countries such as Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia - is dealing a growing divergance away from mainstream EU developments due to socio-economic and political crises, while several states are seeing democracy and its principles under threat as populist and authoritarian politics continues to grow.