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Principled pragmatism in EU foreign policy: A return to Realpolitik or rapprochement with Russia
“Principled pragmatism” is a new EU foreign policy concept outlined in the EU Global Strategy launched in June 2016. It signals that the EU must adapt to a “rapidly changing environment”, and insert a dose of political realism in its foreign policy while continuing to uphold its principles. However, principled pragmatism does not tell us whether EU values enshrined in the Treaty on European Union, such as freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights will take precedence over a pragmatic Realpolitik analysis of the situation, and decisions will likely be taken on a case-by case basis.
This paper looks at principled pragmatism from the perspective of the EU’s relationship with Russia. The fact that the Global Strategy calls this relationship “interdependent” indicates an intention to appease Russia rather than continue to deter it. There is a danger that prin