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Epilogue: Europe Through the Prism of Russia’s War on Ukraine

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Identities, Borderscapes, Orders


This Epilogue brings the themes addressed in the book up to date and orients them to the future. It specifically addresses the challenges, opportunities and issues raised by Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, including for international ordering, the EU as an actor in international affairs and for its (future) bordering. The chapter traces the development of bordering issues related to security and mobility, including the 2017 liberalisation of Schengen visa requirements for Ukrainians, through the EU’s repeated migration crises and the refugee flows generated by Russia’s assault. The Epilogue looks at the development of the EU as a security and geopolitical actor in this period and the journey of CEE states back to the periphery of the EU and, then, back to the core again thanks to their support for Ukraine. Finally, it reflects on possible futures for the EU, Ukraine and CEE—including in light of the emergence of ‘Neo-Idealist’ approaches to geostrategy in the region. Overall, the Epilogue thus provides one of the most innovative and up-to-date summaries of security and mobility issues as well as of EU and CEE (geo)politics over the last decade.

We don’t have a border in the West now.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme 28th February 2022.

The past was yours, but the future’s mine.

The Stone Roses, ‘She Bangs the Drums’.

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  1. 1.

    While the non-paper explicitly spoke of ‘effective solidarity’ the adopted version of the council conclusions spoke of ‘the effective application of the principles of responsibility and solidarity’ (Point 6). In Point 24, it they recognised ‘Ukraine’s achievements in implementing reforms to meet European standards and the fact that it has met the conditions for a visa-free regime with the Union’ (European Council, 2016).

  2. 2.

    Not to be confused with another ‘Zelenskiy Effect’ identified by political scientists with regard to Ukrainian national unity (Onuch & Sandoval, 2022).

  3. 3.

    Self-determination in, for example choosing which institutions and organisations (like NATO and the EU) to apply for membership of. The picture is of course complicated by the pooled sovereignty that the EU requires. Yet, as explained above the EU is a voluntary sphere of integration, while a sphere of influence can be imposed against the will of a country and thus violate its self-determination in a way that EU membership does not.


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Tallis, B. (2023). Epilogue: Europe Through the Prism of Russia’s War on Ukraine. In: Identities, Borderscapes, Orders. Frontiers in International Relations. Springer, Cham.

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