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European Union as normative power in the Ukrainian–Russian conflict


Over the last 20 years the European Union (EU) has been associated with the export of certain universal norms, rules and practices to other countries. In academic circles, the concept is called “normative power Europe”. Democracy, rule of law, strong commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, and social justice: these principles form the core identity of the EU. Based on shared political, economic and cultural ties among member states, the EU has sought to promote these norms also in the neighbouring countries, including Russia. However, the outbreak of the violent conflict between Russia and Ukraine at the end of 2013 clearly demonstrates that the EU has failed in its pursuit in Russia despite extensive mutual relations and comprehensive financial support provided by the EU. The aim of the article is to analyse how consistent has the EU been in defending and promoting European values and norms in the international arena and to Russia during the Ukrainian conflict.

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Correspondence to Viljar Veebel.

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Veebel, V. European Union as normative power in the Ukrainian–Russian conflict. Int Polit 56, 697–712 (2019).

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  • Normative power
  • External governance
  • European Union
  • Russia
  • Ukraine