EU relations with Russia

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The Russian Federation's role in the Ukraine conflict has seriously affected EU-Russia relations. Consequently, some of the activities outlined below are at a halt and sanctions have been adopted.

Russia is the EU's biggest neighbour and its third biggest trading partner. Supplies of oil and gas make up a large proportion of the country's exports to Europe.

Legal basis for cooperation

The current basis for cooperation is the 1994 Partnership and Cooperation 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 increased 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 & the environment
  • freedom, security & justice 
  • external security ­
  • research & education, including cultural aspects.

Partnership for Modernisation

Established following the 2010 Rostov Summit, the Partnership for Modernisation covers all aspects of moderni­sation – economic, technical (including standards and regulations), the rule of law, and the functioning of the judiciary. It has become a focal point for cooperation, reinforcing dialogue initiated in the context of the common spaces. For details, see the latest progress report .

Recent Partnership initiatives include:

  • rule of law projects (setting up an appeal system within the Russian judicial system; anti-corruption measures)
  • fostering  civil society in Russia
  • economic and technical modernisation.

International cooperation

The EU and Russia have a long record of cooperation on issues 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.


In response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and continuing destabilisation of Ukraine - including aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil - the EU has suspended talks on visas and a new EU-Russia agreement. Most EU-Russia cooperation programmes have been suspended.

Targeted measures have been taken against Russia in areas including:

  • access to capital markets,
  • defence
  • dual-use goods
  • sensitive technologies (including those in the energy sector).

The European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have suspended the signing of new financing operations in Russia.

A trade and investment ban is now in force for Crimea/Sevastopol, bolstering measures taken to mark the EU's non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea. Furthermore, a number of individuals and bodies in Russia and Ukraine are subject to travel bans, and their assets have been frozen.

Russia has taken retaliatory measures, including a ban on the import of certain foods from the EU and several non-EU countries.

For further details of the impact of the Ukraine conflict on EU-Russia relations, including sanctions, see Russia-Ukraine , EU sanctions. 

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