Polis Talk – EU-Russian relations in election year 2017:

reset or further conflict?

By Elyssa Shea

On 15 May 2017, as President Macron and Chancellor Merkel held their first official meeting in Berlin, Polis180 hosted a timely discussion on EU-Russian relations in election year 2017.

40 guests at the Schwarzkopf Foundation in Berlin circled around an expert panel: Lars Klingbeil MdB (SPD), SPD spokesperson for digitalization in the parliament and member of the German-Russian parliamentary group; Dr. Gustav Gressel, Senior Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations; Liana Fix, Program Director of the German-Russian International Dialogue and Körber Network Foreign Policy at the Körber Foundation; and a Polis180 moderator, Niklas Kossow.

Panelists agreed that precautions are necessary as the German elections approach, though there is not the same likelihood for a Russia-supported candidate to win in Germany as there was in the U.S. and French elections.

The growing presence, however, of Russian news sources like RT may not directly impact the results of the German election in 2017, but the effects of an alternative narrative will be seen in the long run.

While Russia’s media strategy is an effective one, panelists remained unable to decipher what Russia’s long-term goal is for Europe. Whether with the aim of weakening Europe’s democratic institutions or just trying to make itself appear as a more important partner for the EU, Russia can be seen as utilizing many “spoiling” tactics in the short-term.


It has become clear that there is no straight-forward solution for how the EU can better interact with Russia. While sanctions on Russia have not yielded results, per se, the decision by the EU to implement them has still served as one of the strongest signals of European unity seen in a long time.

Contact Polis180‘s Europe program heads to get involved!

photos by: saskia.photo

© 2015-2018 Polis180 e.V. | Grassroots-Thinktank für Außen- und Europapolitik

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