Zahnrad EU Nachbarn


The 23 countries that have so far been in the focus of the European Union’s neighbourhood and enlargement policy considerably differ in terms of their level of political and economic development. Nevertheless, in socio-economic terms they are closely linked to Europe. This is illustrated by the high degree of economic interdependence between the EU and its neighbouring states. However, China and Russia are trying to extend their influence and undermine the EU’s interests in a peaceful and democratic development of this region.

In our project work we aim at identifying options for strengthening the interdependence between the EU and its neighbouring states in strategically relevant areas ‒ food security, supply chains, future technologies, critical raw materials, infrastructure ‒ and to shape it in such a way that the region can modernise itself together with the EU and prosperity and stability increase in line with the EU’s value orientation.

Moscow’s willingness unilaterally to break the European peace order, as recently massively demonstrated in Ukraine, and its use of export restrictions and trade embargoes to create zones of limited sovereignty in the EU neighbourhood have fundamentally changed the challenges for the EU. Thus, for the EU, defending its own sovereignty will have to involve both strategic management of its external economic relations with China and Russia and active participation in shaping the potential of its neighbourhood. In doing so, it is important to put partnership in the relationship with the neighbourhood in the foreground and to be able to control the crisis potential in the long term even without US assistance.


Foto Christian Hanelt
Christian Hanelt
Senior Expert Europe, Neighbourhood and the Middle East
Foto Miriam Kosmehl
Miriam Kosmehl
Senior Expert Eastern Europe and EU Neighbourhood