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Dealing with Russia: Towards a coherent Belgian policy

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Belgo-Russia relations are mired in paradox. For several years, the relationship between the Russian Federation on the one hand and the EU and NATO on the other has been characterized by mistrust. As a founding member of these multilateral organisations, Belgium has been a full part of the decision-making process that has formulated a hardening stance towards the Russian Federation. Yet on a bilateral level, Belgium pragmatically upholds what is left of commercial cooperation and cultural exchanges. In order to deal with this paradox, Belgium should formulate a more coherent approach towards Russia that focuses on protecting its own values and European security whilst nonetheless maintaining dialogue and engaging the Russian Federation. This requires the new Belgium government to engage in a delicate balancing act that can be articulated in the forthcoming National Security Strategy, in the Belgian positions in the EU and NATO, and in the bilateral relationship with Moscow. This Egmont Paper aspires to provide both analytical background and novel ideas which can be used to such a purpose.

(Photo credit:  Alexander De Croo:  FOD Kanselarij van de Eerste Minister and President Putin: