Russia Labeled “Strategic Challenge”: EU to Present a New Foreign Policy Strategy

Written by | Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

In the EU’s new Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, the EU28 will label Russia its „strategic challenge“, in contrast to its previous label of a “strategic partner” that was used before the annexation of Crimea. The new agenda for the EU’s foreign policy will be published at the end of June, and it will be a new EU Global Strategy to guide the block’s global actions in the future after a decade since Javier Solana’s 2003 European Security Strategy was prepared. The new strategy will be presented by Frederica Mogherini at the 28-29 June summit.

Mrs Mogherini was among the first to say that Russia was no longer Europe’s “strategic partner”, referring Russia’s official label in numerous official documents. The upcoming strategic document on the EU’s role in the world is expected to be shorter, although some Member States do not find it very readable and understandable to general public. On top of Russia, it will focus also on other sensitive areas, such as EU enlargement, migration, asylums, and defense and energy policies – which are described as “red lines”.

EU members, however, cannot agree on the precise formulation of the block’s policy towards Russia. While it was agreed that the language used in the draft would follow the European Commission’s “Five Principles” of EU-Russia relations, published in March 2016, some Member States call for being less descriptive and insist that the country should be named as an aggressor in Ukraine. It is not yet clear what kind of endorsement EU heads of state will give to the paper but it is expected to be rather “welcomed” than “endorsed”. Javier Solana’s 2003 strategy had been “endorsed” when it was presented at a EU summit. The position of the UK is especially vague given that the 23 June referendum on its future in the EU will be held just a few days before the summit.

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