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The European Union sees itself as an advocate of the “soft power” approach in its external relations. The author argues that, due to the presence of an increasingly assertive Russia in the Black Sea region, this policy is no longer sustainable. The urgent need for a common stance towards Russia –but not to be confused with a stance against Russia– is not the author’s wishful thinking but is rather a necessity unless the EU is ready to withdraw as an actor from its Eastern neighborhood. The sooner the EU realizes the need to integrate more “hard power” components in its strategy, the more it will be able to adequately confront the current challenges in the Black Sea region.

 

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Michal Thim
Michal Thim
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Foreword After the violent dissolution of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, there had been a shared sense of hope for a more peaceful future for the European continent. Unfortunately, this comfortability disappeared after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to march against the Ukrainian forces throughout the border on 24 February 2022. This marked a turning point not only for the region...
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