European Union, Russia, and TACIS
Lainela, Seija; Sutela, Pekka (12.02.2004)
Bank of Finland
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite onhttps://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:bof-2014080837
The main resource base for EU's Russia-policies has been and remains the Tacis programme, which provides technical assistance to former Soviet Union republics.The birth of Tacis was a response to the tremendous political change that was taking place in the Soviet Union and its successor states in the early 1990s.At that time those developments could be seen as a possible threat to the stability and security in Europe.Hence, the grand aims of Tacis were - and still are - to (a) foster political stability and democracy, (b) to enhance economic growth in the countries close to the EU and on the Asian continent, (c) to further their relations with the EU, and (d) to tie them to the European system of values. During the more than 10 years that the EU has been running the Tacis programme in Russia, the circumstances have changed radically.By 2004 Russia has emerged as a relatively stable society and a growing economy, especially when compared with the 1990s.It has been given a seat among the main industrial powers. The Eastern Enlargement of the EU will make the common border between the Union and Russia, earlier limited to some 1300 kilometres in Finland, much longer.Hence, there is obvious need for rethinking the role and rationale of the Tacis concept in Russia.This is especially so because the current EU country strategy vis-à-vis Russia and the general EU regulation on Tacis both extend to 2006 only.This is the appropriate time for reconsideration.Furthermore, the effectiveness of Tacis assistance suffers from problems that warrant active measures.Not only has the world changed; there is also the need to learn from experience. Reconsideration is also needed because of changes in the other CIS-countries.After the EU enlargement, two CIS countries - Belarus and Ukraine - will become EU neighbours.A little later Moldova will join them.It is also highly probable that they will successfully claim the status of potential accession candidates in due time.The needs for co-operation with these New Neighbours will differ from those of Russia.A third set of countries is those in the Caucasus and Central Asia.The problems there are mostly those of poverty alleviation and conflict resolution.A few of these countries however have European aspirations that have to be respected.Quite evidently, separate approaches are needed for these three groups of countries instead of a common Tacis.This article reviews the Tacis programme in Russia, both in the framework of EU's external assistance in general and in the framework of the EU-Russia relationship.It aims to assess the effectiveness of the programme from the donor's and the recipient's point of view and provides notions on the future of Tacis in Russia.