chapter  6
Russia and Europe and the process of EU enlargement
Pages 14

Russia’s relationship with the European Union provides an excellent example of the ambivalence and contradictions that characterize the attitude of the country’s leadership towardsmultilateralism.A consciousness of Russia’s European identity and the desire to belong to Europe are contradicted by an increasing stress on Russia’s sovereignty, the inviolability of the country’s borders and a perception that Russia is a great power and should be treated within the EU with the respect due to a great power. Although in the early years of the relationship, ‘horizontal’ multilateralism (and the ‘low politics’ it entails) dominated the relationship, disagreements at the ‘high politics’ level have increasingly hijacked progress on ‘low politics’ issues.2