Eurasian Economic Integration

Eurasian Economic Integration

Law, Policy and Politics

Edited by Rilka Dragneva and Kataryna Wolczuk

In this well-researched and detailed book, the editors provide an extensive and critical analysis of post-Soviet regional integration. After almost two decades of unfulfilled integration promises, a new – improved and functioning – regime emerged in the post-Soviet space: the Eurasian Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (ECU).

Chapter 10: Eurasian economic integration: implications for the EU Eastern policy

Laure Delcour and Kataryna Wolczuk

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, law - academic, european law, international economic law, trade law, public international law, politics and public policy, political economy, public policy


The European Union (EU) has sought to exert its influence in the post-Soviet space by promoting economic integration with partner countries. Alas, in many respects, this strategy is not fully compatible with the needs, capabilities and expectations of partner countries. This is because the EU offer rests on a tight connection between economic integration and the extensive adoption of the acquis communautaire – a particularly challenging and costly proposition for the neighbouring states. Initially the EU promoted economic convergence through soft law – that is, with a low degree of legally binding obligation. Such an integration formula had initially imposed limited constraints on the partner countries’ relations with other economic actors, such as Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). However, in the late 2000s the EU introduced a more legally binding framework – an Association Agreement – as a key instrument to achieve its key objective of the promotion of domestic reforms in its Eastern neighbours. The Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) has started to impinge on, and hinder the achievement of the EU’s objective in the region. This is because Russia has started to use the new regime to contest the EU’s normative power in their common neighbourhood (against the backdrop of stagnation in bilateral relations between the EU and Russia).

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