Франко-германская ось Европейского союза и Россия
The crisis in Ukraine has led to the deterioration of relations between Russia and both France and Germany. If these two countries fail to mobilize their political will and hold constructive negotiations with the Russian Federation, the further development of the European Union, which faces a profound existential crisis today, will be in question. The key research question of the article is whether and to what extent the renewed Franco-German axis is able to optimize relations between the EU and Russia. The article considers the major parameters of the EU crisis, as well as the main systemic mistake committed by the architects of the integration process in Europe. From the authors’ point of view, the mistake is rooted in assessing the unifying potential of Europe in a too optimistic way and ignoring search for the tools for reconciling important differences between the EU member states in the level of economic development and the political culture. The authors reveal pros and cons of the European Union further expansion and discuss a danger associated with membership in both the EU and NATO. The authors analyze in detail the similarities and differences in the approaches of Germany and France to building relations with Russia. They also specify these countries’ national interests and geopolitical strategies in the EU that directly influence the prospects for reviving a constructive dialogue with the Russian Federation. According to the authors’ conclusion, although a certain restructuring of the European Union under the new Franco-German leadership is quite possible, it is yet premature to expect systemic changes in the relations between the EU and Russia.