Can something be done about Russia’s tendency to use trade sanctions during political conflicts with its neighbours? Can something be done to avoid that foreign investors in Russia get stripped of their assets? Can the rising tide of trade and protectionism in Russia somehow be halted? Can the EU do something about it, and is it a good idea for Europe to try and discuss a free trade agreement with Russia? Whoever is interested in those kind of questions might want to consider having a look at a new ECIPE paper.
I’ve been examining Russia’s policies for a while and the country’s relations to the EU. This has resulted in a paper, written in collaboration with my colleague Brian Hindley, who has had a closer look at Russia’s WTO accession. For anyone who’s been following my posts on Russian affairs it might be interesting to have a look at it. It has quite an unglamourous title: “Russian Commercial Policies and the European Union – Can Russia be Anchored in a Legal International Economic Order?”. Here is the paper. Ed Lucas, The Economist’s Eastern Europe correspondent who gave a keynote speech at a conference hosted by ECIPE today that was as sensational(ist) as his book on “The New Cold War”, said we should rather have given it the title “We want interdependence, they want a protectionist fence”…. It would have been a more selly title indeed….;-) But in fact it is not that simple: from quotas on Russian steel to cosy national relationships with the Kremlin and a special Gas Monopoly I don’t want to name, there’s a lot of domestic clean-up to be done. My Director Fredrik Erixon recently had some reflections on EU-Russian energy relations, translated, as well, into a new paper. For anybody who’s interested in this issue, it might well be worth having a look at it.