In this book, we have provided a comprehensive overview and analysis of the evolution, or perhaps degradation, of EU–Russia relations. The purpose of this concluding chapter is not to summarize the findings of the previous chapters. To that end, we have offered comprehensive sectoral conclusions along the way. Instead, this chapter revisits the question of why the partnership failed by looking at what the way forward could look like. On the preceding pages, we have painted a vivid picture of a drawn-out political process between two ‘strategic partners’, which has included several ups and downs but which has also always been imbued with deep promise, meaning and importance by both parties. Yet the sum total of a quarter of a century of deepening interaction and institutionalization is grim indeed: Currently, the relations between the EU and Russia are steeped in a deep crisis, if not a dead end. Despite a flurry of activities over the years, undeniable successes have remained few and far between. On the contrary, mutual disillusionment has set in, with the conflict in Ukraine resulting in an open rupture in relations. A longer period of malaise and tensions between the EU and Russia seems to be in the offing.
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