Despite its political and institutionalized nature, the true foundation of EU–Russia relations is economic. This was already reflected in the PCA, which is largely an economic agreement aiming at the eventual development of a free trade area (FTA) between the EU and Russia (see Chapter 2 for a discussion). The history of EU–Russia relations since then can be read as a series of attempts by both parties to kick-start the ailing process of economic convergence and integration with a view to arriving at a common economic space ‘from Lisbon to Vladivostok’. This chapter provides an overview of the economic relations between the EU and Russia, starting from trade and investments and moving on to the repeated attempts at solidifying and institutionalizing these relations with a view to arriving at an eventual free trade area. This is followed by a discussion of energy relations, which highlights the dual problems of close interdependence and the growing contestation concerning the ‘rules of the road’ for managing those relations and consequent interdependence. The chapter also briefly touches upon environmental cooperation, including attempts to halt climate change. The chapter concludes by discussing the impact of the sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukrainian conflict, and the economic relations between the two increasingly alienated strategic partners.
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