Shaping EU Foreign Policy Towards Russia
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Shaping EU Foreign Policy Towards Russia

Improving Coherence in External Relations

Philipp Thaler

Offering a comprehensive and structured analysis of the reasons why the EU lacks external coherence towards Russia, this book presents important new insights to the topic beyond conventional institutionalist arguments. Philipp Thaler utilises key cases in external energy and human rights policies to highlight the on-going difficulties in creating a coherent position, despite the EU’s formally stated objective to achieve this.
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Chapter 7: Conclusion: understanding external (in)coherence and its implications for the future

Philipp Thaler


The conclusion reviews the main findings of the book and identifies four answers to the central research question. The external policy of the EU towards Russia is lacking coherence, despite extensive institutionalization, a catalogue of formally stated objectives and repeatedly articulated political will, because (1) there is insufficient coordination between different actors and policy objectives; (2) there are partly insufficient coordination mechanisms, inexpedient institutional reform, path dependencies and unintended consequences; (3) internal and external challenges continuously question the fundamental norms and values of the EU–Russia relationship; and (4) there are policy episodes when the conflict between the EU’s milieu and possession goals can neither be avoided nor resolved. The chapter then discusses these findings and assesses their implications for policy-making and future research.

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