The Geopoliticisation of the EU’s Eastern Partnership
GB : Frank Cass Publishers
71 - 99 p.
European Union, Russie, neighbourhood politics, Eastern Europe
Since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, the idea that the EU and Russia are engaged in a geopolitical contest over their common neighbourhood and that the Eastern Partnership (EaP) is Brussels’ instrument in this context appears ‘common sense’. Yet, the reality of the EaP as a policy programme hardly corresponds to such representation, whether in its original purpose, actual content or effects on the ground. To unpack this discrepancy, this article presents a genealogy of what is conceptualised here as the geopoliticisation of the EaP, a notion set forth to designate the discursive construction of an issue as a geopolitical problem. While Russia’s actions in Ukraine certainly contributed to deepen and reinforce this dynamic, the article shows that the geopoliticisation of the EaP was neither merely exogenous nor simply reactive. It was also carried forward from within the European policy community by a discourse coalition which, based on its own political subjectivities and policy agenda, came to frame the EaP as an endeavour aimed at ‘winning over’ countries of the Eastern neighbourhood and ‘rolling back’ Russia’s influence.