Issue 12 2023

Some Reflections on the EU-Russia Partnership After the 1994 Corfu Agreement, with Specific Reference to Maritime Affairs

by Claudia CINELLI

The aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine in 2022 has rewritten the EU-Russia partnership that had developed over the last thirty years. In those thirty years, both the EU and the Russian Federation became maritime powers. This paper offers an analysis of the main dynamics that have brought about the developments of the EU-Russia partnership, with specific reference to maritime affairs. It focuses on the challenges these dynamics pose from a historical perspective. Indeed, specific attention is paid to the 1994 Corfu Agreement that marked a new stage in EU-Russia relationships and, still today, is the main legal basis of their relations. This research contributes to highlighting the evolution of EU competences and its policy actions as a global maritime actor. Accordingly, it explores the progressive developments of its maritime-related relations with the Russian Federation, as shown by the adoption of the 2009 Agreement on fisheries cooperation in the Baltic Sea. In any case, EU-Russia relations have never been easy. Finally, by looking at the most recent developments, this paper addresses the question of compatibility of EU sanctions with the Corfu
Agreement and their impact on EU-Russia maritime affairs.

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