Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)

Relations between Russia and the EU are complex. Russia is the EU’s third largest trading partner, and Europe’s energy supply is largely dependent on imported Russian oil and gas. Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the EU imposed economic sanctions. How should relations between the EU and Russia develop in the future?

Dear delegates,

My name is Philip Lankhorst and, together with Eva Margariti, I have the honour to be your Committee President on this upcoming MEP session in Copenhagen. I would firstly like to congratulate all of you for participating in this MEP session, and I look forward to working with you in the committee meetings.

The issue that you will be discussing is one of the most poignant questions at hand: while Russia is one of the EU’s biggest trading partners, it has also showed itself to be a real aggressor to many European countries. Especially since the annexation of the Crimea in 2015, we need to realise that this is a pressing issue. The real question you will have to answer is if the economic reality that we need Russia for our economies to function outweighs the fact that they have proven to be very unreliable.

In order for you to be well prepared and to participate as much as possible, I have provided you with some useful links. Apart from that, I strongly encourage you to find as much information as possible on your own.

We look forward to seeing you all in October.

Philip and  Eva

Articles related to Crimea:

  • EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine crisis

http://europa.eu/newsroom/highlights/special-coverage/eu_sanctions_en

On this link, you will be able to learn more about the EU sanctions against Russia in a very detailed way. Please pay attention to the files that are included.

  • Russia-EU summits

http://www.russianmission.eu/en/russia-eu-summits

Even though it might not be directly linked to the issue, it further explains how negotiations between Russia and the EU take part.

  • 7% of Crimeans in referendum voted to join Russia- Preliminary results

https://www.rt.com/news/crimea-vote-join-russia-210/

This article contains information about the voter’s reactions after the referendum. Although it seems biased, it will give you the general idea of the political environment as it was shaped after the referendum.  

  • Crimea referendum: Voters ‘back Russia union’

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26606097

Even though it’s very similar to the previous article, the information about the referendum is given in a more unbiased way.

  • Crimeans describe life during blackout after attacks from Ukraine

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/27/crimea-power-cut-russia-ukraine

This article gives an idea of the violation of human rights in Crimea after the referendum. While reading this keep in mind that according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5”no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”

  • Crimea’s profile

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-18287223

It’s important to fully understand the past of Crimea 

  • EU restrictive measures in response to the crisis in Ukraine

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/sanctions/ukraine-crisis/

This article focuses only on the sanctions against Russia. Pay attention to the extra files and timelines that are included inside the article. Watch the video included.

  • Western leaders, CEO’s visit Russia amid sanctions fatigue

http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-06-16/eu-leaders-come-to-russia-in-a-sign-sanctions-could-be-eased

This article comes from an American newspaper, which means that it has a different perspective from the previous articles.

  • Ukraine crisis: Russia isolated in UN Crimea vote

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26595776

This article does not only focus on the problems with the EU, but also with the UN.

  • Minsk Protocol

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsk_Protocol

The Agreement between Ukraine, Russia, DPR, LPR for immediate ceasefire in Donbass. Even though it is not directly linked to the issue, it provides information about it.  

  • Minsk II

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsk_II

The second Minsk agreement between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany

  • Minsk peace agreement

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/EPRS/EPRS-Briefing-548991-Minsk-peace-summit-FINAL.pdf

Similar to the previous articles, but comes from a more reliable source.

  • The Minsk protocols are the best chance for peace in Ukraine

http://muftah.org/the-minsk-protocols-are-the-best-chance-for-peace-in-Ukraine#.V2Z0d38t4w

Another view of the Minsk protocol

Articles related to Russia’s energy supply

– Gazprom- Delivery Statistics

http://www.gazpromexport.ru/en/statistics

It is important to know why Russia is considered EU’s third largest trading partner.

  • Russia in the European energy sector

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia_in_the_European_energy_sector

Related to the previous article, it provides further information about Russia’s exports to the EU. Even though wikipedia is not a very reliable source, if you analyze the site properly, you may find interesting information on the matter.

  • Europe’s fossil fuel dependence on Russia

http://burycoal.com/blog/2010/09/03/europes-fossil-fuel-dependence-on-russia/

This article presents Europe’s alternatives, if something goes wrong with Russia. Bear in mind though, that the topic is about the EU and Russia’s relations. So, do not concentrate on how Europe can replace Russia, but on how it can expand its options when it comes to energy supply. 

  • Russia’s gas pipeline strategy and Europe’s alternatives

http://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/opinion/russia-s-gas-pipeline-strategy-and-europe-s-alternatives/

This article describes the struggle between Russia, Europe and Ukraine, to monitor the flow of gas in Europe.  

  • Russia’s pipelines maps

http://www.eegas.com/maps.htm

Pay attention to the following maps:

Gazprom pipelines in the FSU

Export terminals

Nabucco & Caspian Pipeline (even though this project was aborted, it will help you understand how it was supposed to work)

Gas Pipelines of Europe and Asia

South Stream & Nabucco (again, this project was aborted)

Scheme of Ukrainian pipelines

South Stream (new)

Yamal- South Stream

South Stream shortcut

South Stream & South Corridor

 

  • Europe’s dependence on Russia’s gas

http://www.vox.com/2014/7/25/5936521/why-europe-wont-punish-russia-in-one-map

This article shows the importance of Russia’s gas for the EU. 

– Russia remains set on South Stream Pipeline project

http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Russia-Remains-Set-On-South-Stream-Pipeline-Project.html

This article emphasizes on the implications that South Stream Pipeline will have in Russia and the countries who co-operate in its construction. 

  • Putin: We haven’t given up the South Stream Project

http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/putin-we-haven-t-given-up-the-south-stream-project/

It’s very similar to the previous article, but worth-while to read it.

  • EU dependent on Russian gas for ‘foreseeable future’, warns the IEA

http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/eu-dependent-on-russian-gas-for-foreseeable-future-warns-iea/

This article shows the importance of Russia’s energy supply for Europe’s future.

Articles related to both Crimea and Russia’s energy supply

  • How Russia’s relationship with Europe has evolved

http://bbc.com/news/world-europe-35154633

Detailed reference on Russia-EU relations as well as the Ukraine-Russia energy crisis in 2006.

  • EU relations with Russia

http://eeas.europa.eu/russia/about/index_en.htm

Most important link. Please do absolutely read. Gives the complete aspect of the relations between the EU and Russia. Pay attention to the extra files that are included.

  • New Reforms: How Low Oil Prices and Economic Sanctions play for Russia

http://sputniknews.com/business/20160601/1040596848/russia-sanctions-oil-prices.html

This article explains how the Russian officials are dealing with the sanctions and the lower prices of oil, the lessons that they have learned and the ways to strengthen the Russian economy.

Further Inspiration

Don’t forget that videos cannot always be neutral.

  • How Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYDxOnDGpHc

  • Why are Russia and Ukraine fighting

https://www/youtube.com/watch?v=hC83kGoueDg

  • Gas battle: Ukraine vs Russia- An animated history

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AMsrxba3Sc

  • Videographic: sidestepping Russia’s gas monopoly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaEQQyYkYY8

  • Crimea: a look inside the new Russian territory

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k0t2eUqv3w