The EU-Russia Experts Network on Foreign Policy (EUREN) was initiated by the EU Delegation to Russia and the Russian International Affairs Council in 2016 as a new platform for interaction between EU and Russian foreign policy experts and think tanks.
Since 2017, EUREN has been part of the EU-funded Public Diplomacy. EU and Russia project. This project offers a platform for dialogue between Russian and EU selected audiences on a broad range of bilateral and global issues.
EUREN brings together 40 prominent foreign policy experts and think tanks from Russia and EU member states. The members of this core group come from different cities in Russia (Ekaterinburg, Moscow, St. Petersburg) and from many different EU member states (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and The Netherlands). In this current period of political impasse, when there is a lack of mutual understanding between the EU and Russia, EUREN is one of the few remaining platforms where Russian and EU experts openly exchange views and opinions on a regular basis.
EUREN members are experts on Russian foreign policy, international relations, international security and conflicts, European foreign policy and international economics. In their home countries, they carry out research, advise policy makers and contribute to public debates through various publications and national and international media.
EUREN comes together on a quarterly basis to discuss topics which are relevant for both Russia and the EU, from the common but contested neighbourhood to relations with third countries to security and economic issues. Since its inception at the beginning of 2016, 17 meetings have taken place.
The goals of EUREN are threefold:
1. to build trust among leading experts on both sides – at a time when trust between the EU and Russia has become a rare occurrence;
2. to exchange views and learn and understand better how people on the other side see the world – at a time when echo chambers seem more important than listening to one another;
3. to search for common understanding where this is possible and, on that basis, to jointly formulate policy recommendations to political leaders in the EU and Russia.
EUREN engages with officials and political leaders in the EU and Russia. We regularly interact with high level decision makers in different contexts. EUREN meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule and therefore offer space for open and frank exchanges. We also aim to influence public debates in Russia and EU member states through our publications and public events.
EUREN debates are often difficult. They reflect the differences in perspectives, perceptions and narratives that today characterize the relationship between the EU and Russia.
However, EUREN members acknowledge that in times of crisis dialogue is of the essence. Over the past few years they were able to build a trustful relationship which allows them to disagree on many crucial issues and yet focus on others where progress in mutual relations is possible.
“We have initiated this network to create an additional channel of communication between Russian and EU experts on questions such as how can we overcome the current impasse in our relationship but also what are the common challenges to both Russia and the EU, and which are the areas of future cooperation we can identify.”