The EU in Russia's House of Mirrors
As in other years, in 2018 Russia functioned as a house of mirrors for the EU and its member states, often distorting their image, sometimes reflecting them accurately, at other times making them look better than they were in reality. In this respect, five points deserve particular attention: the EU’s unity and solidarity; its values and identity; its long-term goals and selective engagement; the EU’s and Russia’s damage limitation by encouraging multilevel relationships; and the EU–US–Russia triangle. The EU–Russia relationship matters for a number of significant reasons. It is the EU’s largest neighbour, the state with which it has the longest ground border and is, as such, a key security actor. But it is also the test case for the EU, a test from which the EU once again has not emerged well. Russia evades any attempts to fit it into the EU’s existing pattern of relations and the EU has still not managed to develop – or even imagine – a new one.