Strikingly, participants from the EU and
Russia identified stability and stabilisation as the single most important goal for both sides'
policies towards the common neighbourhood. A consensus may be assumed, therefore, on the value of
stability as a basis for future developments in the region. There were, however, significant
discrepancies in how the experts (including from Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine) defined
For instance, speakers from both sides regularly stressed that the
"Ukraine scenario" must not be allowed to repeat itself in other countries in the future – but the
discussion also showed clearly that the term "Ukraine scenario" was subject to varying
interpretations. Russian participants mainly referred to the downfall of the Yanukovich regime,
which happened despite an international agreement on the transition of power and, in their eyes,
with strong Western support. Participants from EU Member States mainly spoke about the "Revolution
of Dignity" on the Maidan, and the subsequent developments in Crimea and the Donbas, including
Russia's role in them.
Generally speaking, stability/stabilisation meant less interference
by the EU and other Western actors in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries and the region
as a whole where Russian speakers were concerned. Statements by speakers from EU member states
pointed in the opposite direction. Interestingly there was a discussion among EU experts about the
extent to which stability/stabilisation as opposed to democracy and human rights have come to
determine the EU's approach towards the neighbourhood in recent years. One speaker pointed out that,
even though stability/ stabilisation now feature much more prominently in EU policy, the goal cannot
be authoritarian stabilisation but stable management of necessary political and economic change in
the countries concerned.