EU relations with Russia

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Russia is the EU's biggest neighbour and third biggest trading partner, with Russian supplies of oil and gas making up a large percentage of its exports to Europe.

Legal basis for cooperation

The current basis for cooperation is the 1994 Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA).

Negotiations on a new, EU-Russia Agreement were launched at the 2008 Khanty-Mansiysk summit. The new agreement should:

  • provide a more comprehensive framework for EU-Russia relations, reflecting the growth in cooperation since the early 1990s
  • include substantive, legally binding commitments in all areas of the partnership, including political dialogue, freedom, security & justice, economic cooperation, research, education & culture, trade, investment and energy.

Common spaces

Ongoing EU-Russia cooperation covers 4 policy areas – referred to as common spaces:

  • economy & environment
  • freedom, security & justice 
  • external security ­
  • research & education, including cultural aspects.

Partnership for Modernisation

Drawn up following the 2010 Rostov Summit, the Partnership for Modernisation deals with all aspects of moderni­sation – economic, technical (including standards and regulations) rule of law and functioning of the judiciary. The Partnership has become a focal point of mutual cooperation, reinforcing dialogue started under the common spaces. The last progress report 2014 pdf - 427 KB [427 KB] français (fr) русский язык (ru) .

Recent Partnership initiatives include:

  • rule of law projects (setting up an appeal system in the Russian judicial system and anti-corruption activities)
  • civil society development
  • economic and technical modernisation.


Overall, the EU and Russia cooperate on a number of challenges of bilateral and international concern, including climate change, drug and human trafficking, organized crime, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, the Middle East peace process, and Iran.