In its 2018 Interim Report the EU-Russia Expert
Network on Foreign Policy called upon Russia and the EU to explore areas of economic
cooperation, which do not violate sanctions on either side. Preserving and developing economic
interaction in specific areas can help to avoid progressing isolation in a complicated political
context. We want to focus on two areas which are relevant for both the EU and Russia: digital
transformation and economic connectivity. Moreover, we intend to discuss mutual sanctions and
specifically the impact of US sanctions on EU-Russia economic relations.
transformation implies opportunities and challenges for both the EU and Russia.
Brussels and Moscow are developing strategies to address the groundbreaking impact of
technological change on governments, social systems and private businesses. They also have to
deal with cyber security: in this area they find themselves on different sides of the fence more
often than not. We want to explore the state of digital transformation in Russia and the EU
(digitalization of public administration, IT infrastructure, digital technology and innovation,
digital education, big data management) as well as both sides' political strategies in the
field. How advanced are Russia and the EU in different areas of digital transformation? Where do
interests converge, where do they conflict? Is there any space for cooperation, including in the
area of digital governance, between the EU and Russia?
connectivity has become a political priority in the OSCE in view of growing global
interdependence, including in the digital sphere. Reducing barriers to economic exchange and
promoting economic interaction is considered an instrument to reduce confrontation, build
confidence, promote cooperation and generate synergies. The concept has gained more prominence
in view of China's Belt and Road Initiative, which is already transforming economic interaction
in Eurasia and Europe. The EU in 2018 adopted a Euro-Asia Connectivity Strategy, in which Russia
is mentioned as a partner. Russia stated in its 2016 Foreign Policy Concept that the EU remains
an important partner in trade and foreign policy. We want to analyze the EU's and Russia's
approaches towards connectivity to identify areas where they overlap and conflict. Can the
connectivity concept be used to foster constructive interaction between Russia and the EU?
Mutual sanctions have been an important feature in EU-Russia economic
relations for the past five years. The sanctions policy of the Trump administration has made the
context of EU sanctions and their impact on the Russian economy more volatile. We want to
investigate the impact of US sanctions on the Russian economy and Russia-EU economic relations.
This workshop will also provide important context analysis for the discussions on digital
transformation and connectivity.