Cahiers de Science politique Cahiers de Science politique -  Cahier n°1 

The EU Enlargement and Russia: The Case of Kaliningrad

Simon Petermann
Professor, University of Liège
Geoffroy Matagne
Assistant, University of Liège


1In 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regained their independence. As a result, the most westerly part of Russia found itself physically separated from the Russian mainland. This exclave is Kaliningrad. It is isolated on the shores of the Baltic Sea, with Poland to its south, Lithuania to its north and east and almost 400 kilometres away from the rest of Russia. It is also one of the smallest regions of the Russian Federation, with a population of about one million and an area of 15200 square kilometres.2

2Yet, as far as its economy is concerned, it is not that dissimilar to that of many other parts of Russia – with a continuing reliance on increasingly obsolete industries, a decaying infrastructure, an impoverished agriculture, and a lack of development of new industries3. These problems are exacerbated by the additional costs and difficulties posed by its position as an exclave4 though. Beyond these economic difficulties, the region faces severe problems, including pollution, an extensive grey or black economy, rising levels of organised crime, drug-trafficking and corruption and one of the highest rates of HIV in Europe5.6

3A decade after the events that led to the new status and situation of Kaliningrad, the European Union (EU) enlargement will without any doubt affect the political and economic interests of the EU member states, the EU as a whole, as well as the Russian Federation – not least the Kaliningrad oblast7. Exclave outside the Russian mainland, Kaliningrad will become a Russian enclave within the EU as a result of the accession of Poland and Lithuania. This very fact makes clear and obvious why the consequences for Kaliningrad of EU enlargement are a topic worth studying: its problems will become the EU’s problems while, conversely, how the EU acts will have a huge impact upon Kaliningrad8. Consequently, EU-Russian relations are bound to be affected. Clearly, the issue cannot be ignored.

4In a first part, this paper will briefly outline the current situation of the relations between the EU, Russia and Kaliningrad.

5In a second part, the impact of EU enlargement on Kaliningrad will be analysed. In order to do so, the main consequences of the enlargement will be addressed and the main actors’ positions as well as the solutions they suggest will be presented.

1. The EU, Russia and Kaliningrad: the current situation

1.1. The relations between the EU and the Russian Federation

6Even after the contraction of the space ruled by Moscow, northwest is the direction where the Russian heartland is closest to the outside world. Paradoxically, the loss of the outer and inner Soviet empires has made Russia a much more European state than the Soviet Union ever was. The European Union is only 1200 km west of Moscow, a mere 200 km from St Petersburg.9

7The cooperation that developed between Russia and the EU after the collapse of the Soviet empire is sometimes presented as a “strategic partnership” understood as co-operation based on a balance of mutual responsibility, aimed at establishing and developing a common European economic and legal infrastructure10.

8The legal basis of the EU-Russian relations is the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) of 1994. It entered into force in December 1997 for an initial period of 10 years. It established the institutional framework of the bilateral relations, specified the common objectives and provided for a dialogue in a number of areas such as trade and economic cooperation in the fields of science and technology, energy, environment, transport, etc. According to this Agreement, a political dialogue on international and justice and home affairs issues was also to be organised.

9In June 1999, The EU published a Common Strategy on Russia. It stressed different priority areas for EU-Russian relations such as the consolidation of democratic principles and the rule of law, the integration of Russia in a European economic and social space, security and stability in Europe or the common challenges ahead in Europe.

10The Russian replied to the EU Common Strategy with a “Medium Term Strategy for the Development of Relations between the Russian Federation and the EU (2000-2010)” which was presented at the EU-Russia summit in October 1999. At a different level, the TACIS11 programme has also been implemented for the benefit of Russia since 199112. Moreover, different sectorial agreements exist and should be taken into account13.

11Following R. Nyberg, it seems clear that Russia under President Putin has made a choice for co-operation with the EU and the west in general, and will not opt for isolationism or seek a non-existent Eurasian option14. This choice is a rational one as it reflects the reality of the Russian economy15.

1.2. The European actions in aid of Kaliningrad

12The co-operation instruments outlined above do not discriminate between Kaliningrad and the Russian mainland. This section focuses on the instruments specifically for the benefit of – and tailored for – Kaliningrad.

13In 1998, a Finnish initiative aimed at associating more closely the regions of the northwest of Russia to the cooperation with the EU resulted in a document of the European Commission entitled “A Nordic Dimension for EU Policies”. This document points to a different approach. It is the first step towards the acknowledgement of the importance of the northwest of Russia, Kaliningrad included, through its trans-borders relations with the EU.

14Although the responsibility for the future development of Kaliningrad belongs to Russian authorities, this very development as well as the problems faced by the enclave can influence its neighbours. Such interdependence has led the European Commission to develop active assistance programmes since the beginning of the 90s. Indeed, the EU provided Kaliningrad with substantial aid. The EU funded a whole range of projects, especially within the framework of TACIS, notably in the fields of institutions strengthening, energy, transport, firms restructuring and education in management and development. New TACIS projects were elaborated in 1999-2000. They address the issues of border crossings, the management of waste, health, the development of the port of Kaliningrad, promotion of trade investment and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). Hitherto, Kaliningrad has received more than 40 millions € of aid:

  • € 4 million has been spent on economic development;

  • € 1 million is being spent on to develop the Kaliningrad Port;

  • In the education sector, € 1,2 million has been provided for projects in partnership with Kaliningrad State University;

  • € 11 million has been allocated to help streamline border crossings;

  • € 1 million has been committed to help combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.16

15In addition to TACIS, other Community programmes have been implemented in Kaliningrad: the fund LIFE launched two projects, the programme ECOS/ouverture implemented three projects and two projects INTERREG have been run17.

16Moreover, numerous bilateral partnerships have been created between Kaliningrad and some member states (Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland) as well as between the enclave and some future member states (Poland and Lithuania).

2. The EU enlargement and Kaliningrad

17As said in the introduction, the EU enlargement will without any doubt affect the political and economic interests of the EU member states, the EU as a whole, as well as the Russian Federation – not least the Kaliningrad oblast. As a matter of fact, from the perspective of location, Kaliningrad will be outside mainland Russia and inside the enlarging EU. From the perspective of sovereignty, Kaliningrad will be outside the EU because Russia will not be a member of the EU18.

18In a first section, the consequences of the enlargement the actors will have to face are outlined. In a second section, the positions of the EU and the Russian Federation as well as the solutions they suggest are addressed19. This paper will focus primarily more particularly on the highly contentious question of visas and free movement of people.

2.1. The consequences of the EU enlargement

19In order to structure the line of argument, a distinction is made between the problematic consequences that will have to be solved by Russia and the EU before the enlargement and the issues only indirectly linked to the enlargement and that could be tackled by the Russian Federation alone (but possibly with EU financial assistance).

2.1.1. The issues to be solved by Russia and the EU before the enlargement

20Given the status of enclave that will result from the forthcoming EU enlargement to Poland and Lithuania for Kaliningrad, the nature of the supplying problems is going to change profoundly. The key issues in such a context are the free movement of goods, the free movement of persons, energy supplies, fisheries and transportation links. Free movement of goods

21Currently, trade relations between the EU and Russia are governed by the PCA signed in 1994. This agreement is a constitutive part of the acquis communautaire. Poland and Lithuania will be bound by it after their accession. The common external tariff will therefore apply and replace the higher tariffs currently applied by Poland (15,8 %) and Lithuania (5,3%). These two countries being important trade partners of Kaliningrad, the enlargement will be positive for the enclave as far as the tariffs are concerned.

22Nonetheless, to allow for effective movement of goods through the 23 border crossing points between Poland, Lithuania and Kaliningrad, important reforms are needed in terms of both material infrastructure and management. Visas, border crossings and free movement of persons

23At present, Kaliningrad inhabitants cross easily the borders of Poland and Lithuania to go to mainland Russia. In order to do so, Russian citizens simply use their internal identity documents. Each year, about 9 millions border crossings take place. Therefore, the accession of Poland and Lithuania will have important consequences in terms of freedom of movement for the citizens of the Russian Federation. These two countries will have to apply the Schengen acquis and the Community legislation20. Persons willing to journey from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad and vice versa (and to cross therefore EU external borders) will be required to have visas consistent with the international legislation. Energy supplies

24At the present time, Kaliningrad energy needs are mainly provided for by imports from the Russian mainland coming through Lithuania via a common network. Lithuania considers connecting itself to the Central Europe electricity network by establishing a connection with Poland. In such a case, Kaliningrad would have either to maintain its relations with Lithuania and connect to the Central Europe network at economic conditions no yet decided, or to maintain its connection to the Russian network and negotiate the forwarding of energy supplies with Lithuania. Fisheries

25After the enlargement, the Baltic Sea will become an almost entirely EU fishing zone, except for a few small areas near Kaliningrad and St Petersburg. In such a context, it is necessary to address the issues of the relations between Kaliningrad and the EU in the field of fisheries and to tackle the question of access to fishing zones. Transportation links

26It is also necessary to mention that the enlargement will have some positive effects for Kaliningrad. The development of modern and integrated transportation links will accelerate. Indeed, the current infrastructure desperately needs modernisation21. However, agreements on rail and road transport will have to be signed in order to let the trucks and trains to transit through Poland and Lithuania. This is necessary to maintain the production in the enclave.

2.1.2. The issues only indirectly resulting from enlargement

27Several crucial issues only indirectly linked to the EU enlargement have to be considered. The ecological situation of the region is disastrous. Nuclear waste and chemical weapons stored in Kaliningrad could cause an environmental disaster. The economic situation is bleak as we already mentioned above. The standard of living is lower than the Russian average: GDP is 35 % lower than the Russian average and 30 % of the population is estimated to live below subsistence level; there is a growing wealth gap between the region and Poland and Lithuania; industrial production dropped by 60 % since 1990, with drastic changes in the regional economy and the enclave has a significant formal external trade deficit (with the EU, the deficit in 2001 was $ 313 million)22. Despite the EU aid, the local industry does not thrive and grey and black economy is widespread, accounting for more than 60 % of GDP. Over 90 % of mined amber is smuggled out of the region23 and the levels of organised crime, drug trafficking, prostitution, etc., are rising.

28These issues are linked to the enlargement, notably because although these social and economic problems are largely internal and therefore the responsibility of Russia, the EU fears an unstable region in its midst, and the spill over effect of illegal immigration, crime and environmental pollution24.

29This fear is at the core of the documents issued by the EU institutions such as the European Commission communication of 17 January 2001 and the European Parliament report of 25 April 2002.

30It is in the light of such elements that the position of the actors and the solutions they suggest can be understood.

2.2. The actors’ position and suggested solutions

2.2.1. The European Union

31The current trend is a strengthening of the cooperation with the Russian Federation, notably in the area of trade, energy and the fight against terrorism. However, the issue of Kaliningrad still constitutes an obstacle.

32The EU concerns for the unique situation of Kaliningrad after the enlargement are easily explained by the numerous consequences pointed at above. The EU position is characterised by both a willingness to find constructive solutions with Russia and a determination to stick to the Community legislation and the acquis communautaire. This is especially the case in the contentious issue of visas and free movement of persons. Chris Patten gives an example of this tension and this endeavour to find a balanced position when he says that the resolution of the visa problem will require us to make imaginative use of the flexibility permitted by EU rules25. Another feature of the position of the EU on this issue is an emphasis on the need to involve all the actors concerned in the discussions26.

33The PCA is the framework of EU-Russian discussions and the EU-Russia summits are key institutionalised steps in the dialogue between the main parties. The different EU institutions have issued communications, reports, etc. in order to explain their position and suggest solutions. For instance, the communication of the European Commission to the Council on Kaliningrad of 17 January 2001 calls for a dialogue between the parties, notably within different working groups addressing each of the issues presented above.

34As far as the issue of visas and free movement of persons is concerned the member states agree that no derogation to the Schengen acquis is desirable. The implicit argument is that the integrity of the external borders and the security of the Union cannot be vouched for with arrangements emanating from Soviet and post-Soviet practices where passports and visas are replaced by identification documents and special permits27. However, the European Commission made several proposals in its communication to the Council.

35According to this communication, in the wider context of Community policies on visas and on external borders, there may be a need to examine a number of areas from the point of view of ensuring smooth movement of people: the possible development of further rules on small border traffic (traffic within areas adjacent to the external border) in order to avoid disrupting local socio-economic ties; the effect of existing rules on transit in view of the specific situation of Kaliningrad; the cost of passports (the responsibility of Russia) and visas (responsibility of current and future EU Member States)28; the presence of consular offices in Kaliningrad to facilitate visa issuance (responsibility of EU Member States) and the possibility to take advantage of any special arrangements permitted by the acquis. In this latter context, the examples offered by other candidate countries should be examined. 29 For the Commission, the most important will be the efficient operation of border crossings, through the upgrading of facilities and procedures and exchange of best practice30. The Commission also suggests providing EU technical and financial assistance that could contribute to the creation of a functioning border control system.

36In respect to the issue of crime and illegal immigration, the EU proposes to develop the cooperation between EU and Russian authorities, to sign readmission agreements and to provide with technical and financial assistance for the amelioration of the infrastructures and the management of the 23 border crossing points between Kaliningrad and its future EU neighbours.

37As regards the free movement of goods, the European Commission proposes also to examine the consequences of the enlargement on Kaliningrad within the framework of the PCA.

38The issue of energy supplies was also addressed in the communication of 17 January 2001. The European Commission proposes to undertake a TACIS study on the energy needs, energy potential and possible scenarios (...), to assess, inter alia, the feasibility of electricity generation in Kaliningrad, alternative electricity supply and electricity exchange solutions. The question of new gas pipeline projects in the Baltic region, as well as related transit issues should also be included in the study, which will require close co-operation between the EU, Lithuania, Russia, (including Kaliningrad) and the IFIs31.

39As input for intensified discussions on Kaliningrad, the European Commission prepared a second document, entitled “EU-Russia Cooperation on Kaliningrad” setting out its analysis of the main issues and making concrete proposals. This document has been handed over to President V. Putin in May 2002.

40Summing up, in order to reach an agreement with Russia on the issue of visas and the free movement of persons, the European Commission clearly chose to focus on the facilitation of the administrative aspects of the problem, the modalities of the issuance of visas, their length, their cost, the modalities of controls at the border crossing points and the cooperation between transborder authorities.

41Recently, on 18 September 2002, the European Commission adopted a communication setting out a package of measures designed to ease the direct transit of people and goods between Kaliningrad oblast and the rest of Russia once the enlargement of the EU has taken place. Indeed, the European Council in Seville on 21 June 2002 invited the European Commission to submit, in time for the [24-25 October] European Council in Brussels, an additional study on the possibilities for an effective and flexible solution of the transit of persons and goods to and from Kaliningrad oblast, in compliance with the acquis and in agreement with the candidate countries concerned. On September 30, EU Foreign Ministers agreed that the proposals adopted by the Commission should form the basis for discussions with the Russian authorities at the EU-Russia Summit in November  2002.

42The package consists of the following measures:

  • The provision of a Facilitated Transit Document (FTD). The FTD would be issued to Russian citizens who need to travel frequently to and from Kaliningrad. The FTD would be securised and issued at low cost by candidate countries consulates after examination of lists provided by the Russian authorities. This document would allow individuals short periods for transiting by road or rail.

  • The assessment of the feasibility of non-stop high-speed trains that could provide sufficient security for visa-free travel. After accession of Lithuania, the Commission agrees to assess the legal and technical feasibility of visa-free non-stop trains. At this stage, the European Commission considers that the technical preconditions for the safe and secure operation of visa-free travel by train do not exist. This measure is a reaction to the Russian proposal to introduce a visa exemption for direct transit of passengers on non-stop high speed trains, linking Kaliningrad and mainland Russia through Lithuania and Belarus.

  • The opening of discussion on a long-term goal of ultimate visa-free travel between Russia and the EU. However, in order to achieve this goal, the European Commission underlines the need to discuss the measures which Russia is putting into place to strengthen the rule of law, to intensify the fight against organised crime, to ensure border security and that travel documents are secured and accurate. The European Commission pushes also for the early conclusion of readmission agreement and increased co-operation on border management, with a view to tackle trans-border crime and illegal migration and to prevent the free movement of criminals and terrorist elements.

  • The full use of international conventions for simplified transit of goods, i.e. the TIR (road) and COTIF (rail) conventions already allowing for the transit of goods with relatively little bureaucracy.

2.2.2. The Russian Federation

43The position of Russia was first outlined in the “Medium Term Strategy for the Development of Relations between the Russian Federation and the EU (2000-2010)”, which was presented at the EU-Russia summit in October 1999. This document put forward the idea of Kaliningrad as a “pilot region” for “EU-Russian cooperation in the 21st century”. Russian authorities were to implement judicial and economic reforms and a programme against corruption. However, this first step in the dialogue has not been immediately followed by others. Indeed, Vladimir Putin, elected President in 2000, focused first on more pressing issues.  

44In his speech at the 9th EU-Russia summit that took place in Moscow the 29 May 2002, Vladimir Putin stressed the need to give a new impulsion to the strategic partnership between the EU and Russia32. He underlined the importance of Kaliningrad for Russia. According to him, the evolution of the EU-Russian relations will depend on the solutions found on this issue. This is presented as the criteria for the quality of their cooperation and partnership.33

45Russia acknowledges the supplying problems for Kaliningrad that will arise after the enlargement. It acknowledges that key problems will appear such as the freedom of movement of goods and people between the exclave and mainland Russia, energy supplies and fisheries. The official position stresses that many of these issues are long-standing and states the need to reach an agreement before the enlargement.34 It also insists on involving Poland and Lithuania in the negotiations. Bilateral negotiations are indeed a framework more likely to lead to more favourable agreements from the point of view of Moscow.

46Russian authorities reacted positively to the European Parliament resolution on Kaliningrad. While reminding that the main responsibility for the development of the region belonged to Russia, the Russian Federation welcomed the fact that the enclave problems were acknowledged and understood by the EU. At present, Russia is actively working in this direction. The Federal Programme for the development of the region is being implemented. Energy supplies problems are being tackled. Transportation links are being modernised. As above-mentioned, the situation is still difficult and the problems have not been solved yet. However, the Russian authorities reckon that the first positive results are already tangible: the economic growth rate is currently higher in Kaliningrad than the average Russian rates, the crime levels are falling, etc. They regret that these positive elements did not draw the EU attention.

47As regards the issue of visas and the freedom of movement of people, the position of Russia is that EU enlargement should not result in making the contacts between inhabitants of Kaliningrad and the other Russian citizens more difficult than it is at present. The freedom of travel and transit of Russian citizens in their own country is presented as a fundamental human right. It is difficult for the Russian authorities to accept that such movements of people could depend on the decisions of a foreign country (visas issuance).

48Russian proposals concerning Kaliningrad focus on this contentious and key issue. For instance, Moscow proposed to establish a corridor linking Kaliningrad to mainland Russia. Such a solution is unacceptable for the EU though.

49The 21 March 2001, the Russian government adopted the “Concept of Federal Social-Economic Policy towards the Kaliningrad oblast”. This “Concept” has a more declarative than operational nature but it contains some important ideas. It states once again the idea of Kaliningrad as a “pilot region” for the cooperation with the EU, which was welcomed by the European Parliament35. It lists measures designed to increase the economic potential of Kaliningrad, to attract investors, to modernise its transportation links. As regards the issue of visas, it calls for an agreement on the following lines:

  • A regime of freedom of movement for Kaliningrad inhabitants in Poland and Lithuania under certain circumstances or for travelling purposes.

  • A regime of freedom of movement for Russian citizens transiting via the EU territory.

  • A simplified visa for EU citizens going to Kaliningrad.

50As said before, the EU is not ready to accept such derogations to the Schengen acquis. Moreover, while the Commission proposes to discuss the modalities regarding the issuance of visas and a readmission agreement, Russian authorities insist on reaching a political agreement in principle first.

51The latest developments as regards the issue of visas are the call by V. Putin at the end of August 2002 for the eventual suppression of the visas regime between the EU and Russia36 and the release of Russian transitional proposals for the visas regime by the special envoy for Kaliningrad D. Rogozine. The transitional regime (until 2007-2008) would allow for a transit system via Lithuania for people travelling by train or coach. The passengers would have to show their passport on buying their tickets but no transit visa would be necessary. The system would apply to EU and Russian citizens and would be maintained after 2008 provided the Russian authorities have reinforced border and controls at border crossing points.

52These general ideas have been stated in two other documents. The first one is entitled “Solutions possibles aux problèmes spécifiques de la région de Kaliningrad dus à l’élargissement de l’Union européenne”37 and was transmitted to the European Commission on 6 March 2001. The second document is the “Evaluation en profondeur de la communication de la Commission au Conseil du 17 janvier 2001”38.

53Interestingly, these documents address also other issues than visas and freedom of movement. As regards energy supplies problems, Russia demands the right to convey oil, gas and electricity across Lithuania, Poland and Latvia via pipelines. Russia wants to keep the existing link between Kaliningrad and the Russian network. It mentions also the possibility to build a power plant in Kaliningrad. Clearly, Russia wants to avoid any energy dependence on neighbouring countries. As regards fisheries, the Russian authorities ask the EU to authorise the access to EU fishing zones in the Baltic Sea. Moscow also wants preferential tariffs to be applied to the products imported from Kaliningrad and to the fish caught by vessels flying a Kaliningrad flag.

54To sum up, whilst it would like a special agreement with the EU on Kaliningrad, it will not tolerate any independence for the region. This would run counter to Putin’s attempts (...) to consolidate federal control over the regions39. Russia is clearly prepared to treat Kaliningrad as a special case and is prepared to ask for special treatment for it. The oblast remains an integral part of Russia, but has become increasingly a joint concern between Russia and the EU40. In such a context, the Russian Security Council is to adopt at the end of this year a detailed programme on the development of the Kaliningrad territory until 201041. Such a document is crucial. Indeed, a clear Russian vision of the problems and strategy is needed before any effective negotiations with the EU can take place.

2.2.3. Conclusion

55The EU-Russia summit that took place on 29 May 2002 was a key opportunity for the parties to find solutions. However no significant progress was made. The joint declaration issued at the end of the summit reads:

56The pending EU enlargement will open new prospects for our relations but at the same time will possibly create new problems, including in the sphere of trade, economic cooperation and human contacts. We agree to discuss more actively the essence of the Russian concerns in the framework of the PCA.

57Taking into account the legal and practical consequences of EU enlargement, Russia and the EU agreed to continue joint work with a view to reaching mutually acceptable solutions for the Kaliningrad region. This will be of key importance for the development of a strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the European Union and for strengthening the atmosphere of good-neighbourhood and mutual understanding.

58We agreed to engage in further dialogue on concrete proposals for cooperation and joint action. The PSC Troika and the Russian and the Russian Ambassador to the EU will play an important role in coordinating this work. We will review progress in these areas at the next Russia-EU summit on 11 November 2002 in Copenhagen.

59The level of generality of the joint declaration was disappointing, even considering the specific nature of this official declaration.

60The recent proposals by President V. Putin, the Russian special envoy for Kaliningrad D. Rogozine and the Commission could possibly lead to compromises and detailed and practical solutions.

61A positive element at present is that the Danish EU Presidency is decided to resolve the issues concerning Kaliningrad. According to the Danish Prime Minister, the EU-Russia summit in Copenhagen in November will be a significant step forwards42. It may be so but it will primarily depend on the involvement and willingness of all the actors concerned. The EU, Russia and the Kaliningrad authorities must introduce institutional agreements for dealing with the Kaliningrad problem and failure by one of these actors to take such steps will neutralize the effects of positive steps taken by others.43


62The Kaliningrad oblast belongs to Russia. This belonginess is taken for granted. Yet, it is admitted that the oblast has turned into a joint concern between Russia and the EU.44

63The effects of the EU enlargement on EU-Russian relations and Kaliningrad are far-reaching, as shown by the numerous and contentious issues analysed above. It is unclear insofar what will be the solutions negotiated and agreed to face these. It is clear however that the case of Kaliningrad is both a challenge and an opportunity for EU-Russian relations.

64It is a challenge because, as Christopher Patten puts it, the only sensible options for [the EU and Russia] is to make [their] relationship work as successfully as possible economically, socially, politically. This is a significant partnership, a partnership enhanced by enlargement. There is no other sensible option. But a partnership involves traffic in both directions, it involves gives and takes, it involves understanding the other sides’ point of view45. Such a direction calls for the involvement of all the actors and their commitment to agree on important reforms. Indeed, Kaliningrad and the other actors involved need to agree on what should be done and then, find the will, the means and the resources for implementation46.

65It is an opportunity because if the EU and Russia can succeed in managing EU-Kaliningrad relations in a practical and constructive way, this could become a model for wider EU-Russian relations47. Even though one should not overlook the social and economic difficulties, the limited size, small population and economy of Kaliningrad should make a joint effort manageable and easy to monitor48. In any case, what we do, or do not do, with this Russian region is likely to have strategic consequences for northern Europe and for the whole range of EU-Russian relations49.

66To sum up with V. Usackas words, the Kaliningrad region should be seen not as a problem but rather as an opportunity for introducing new forms of regional co-operation. In the light of the ongoing political changes in Russia, Kaliningrad presents itself as an interesting test of Russia’s ‘Europeanisation’ vis-à-vis the processes of Euro-Atlantic integration50. The next EU-Russia summit, planned in November 2002, could be another step in the direction of such a changing relationship.

67Septembre 2002


68Agence Europe, UE/Kaliningrad: la Commission doit adopter mercredi sa proposition de compromis sur le transit vers et en provenance de Kaliningrad, Bulletin Quotidien Europe, N° 8299, mercredi 18 septembre 2002, p. 8.

69Agence Europe, UE/Kaliningrad: la Commission propose d’établir un document facilitant le transit pour les personnes voyageant fréquemment de et vers Kaliningrad, Bulletin Quotidien Europe, N° 8300, jeudi 19 septembre 2002, p. 7.

70Agence Europe, UE/Kaliningrad: plusieurs pays plaident pour un train rapide sans visas, Bulletin Quotidien Europe, N° 8308, lundi/mardi 30 septembre et 1er  octobre 2002, p. 12.

71Agence France Presse, Propositions russes “de transition” jusqu’en 2007-2008 pour régime de visas, Bruxelles, 2 septembre 2002.

72Baxendale J., EU-Russia relations: Is 2001 a Turning Point for Kaliningrad?, European Foreign Affairs Review, vol. 6, 2001, p. 437-464.

73Baxendale J., Dewar Stephen and Gowan David (ed.), The EU and Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad and the impact of EU enlargement, London: Federal Trust for Education and Research, Federal Trust Europe’s eastern borders, 2000.

74European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the Council. The EU and Kaliningrad, Brussels, 17 January 2001, COM(2001)26 final.

75European Commission, EU-Russia Partnership on Kaliningrad, MEMO/02/169, Moscow, 12th July 2002,

76European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the Council. Kaliningrad: Transit, Brussels, 18 September 2002, COM(2002)510 final.

77European Union, Delegation of the European Commission in Russia, Kaliningrad and the EU – Facts and Figures, MEMO/02/192, Brussels, 18 September 2002.

78European Union, Delegation of the European Commission in Russia, Kaliningrad: European Commission proposes set of measures to ease transit after enlargement, Press Release, Brussels, 18 September 2002.

79Hoff M., Projet de rapport sur la communication de la Commission au Conseil sur l’UE et Kaliningrad, Parlement européen, Commission des affaires étrangères, des droits de l’homme, de la sécurité commune et de la politique de défense, Bruxelles, 11 janvier 2002, PE 2001/2046(COS).

80Hoff M., Rapport sur la communication de la Commission au Conseil. L’UE et Kaliningrad (COM(2001) 26 – C5‑0099/2001 – 2001/2046(COS)), Parlement européen, Commission des affaires étrangères, des droits de l’homme, de la sécurité commune et de la politique de défense, Bruxelles, 25 avril 2002, A5 0156/2002 final.

81Nicolet L., Manœuvre très politique du président russe. Poutine veut supprimer les visas avec l’Europe, Le Soir, 29 August 2002, p. 9.

82Patten Ch., Kaliningrad et l’Europe élargie, Le Monde, 7 April 2001,

83Patten Ch., EU-Russia Summit and Hoff report on Kaliningrad, Speech at the European Parliament, plenary session, Strasbourg, 14 May 2002,

84Rasmussen A.F., Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's speech to the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 3 July 2002,

85Russian Embassy, De la résolution du Parlement européen pour Kaliningrad, 18 May 2002,

86Russian Embassy, Intervention de V.V. Poutine, Président de la fédération de Russie au sommet Russie/UE, 1 June 2002,

87Russian Embassy, A propos des messages de V.V. Poutine, Président de la Fédération de Russie, au Président de la Commission européenne et aux chefs des Etats membres de l’Union européenne, 31 August 2002,

88Sergounin A. and Fairlie L.D., Are borders barriers? EU enlargement and the Russian region of Kaliningrad, Programme on the Northern Dimension of CFSP, Berlin, Institut für Europäische Politik, 2001.


1 Paper presented at the Conference on Russia-EU Relations, 20-21/09/02, Saint-Petersburg State University, School of International Relations.
2 J. Baxendale and S. Dewar in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 9.
3 J. Baxendale and S. Dewar, ibidem, p. 13.
4 Ibidem.
5 D. Gowan in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 19.
6 For more information on the economic and social situation of Kaliningrad and other background information on transport links, trade and transit, energy, education, health and environment, regional governance, democracy and the rule of law or crime, see European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the Council. The EU and Kaliningrad, Brussels, 17 January 2001, COM(2001)26 final, annex I. For more information on the history of Kaliningrad, see J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000.
7 Russian term for an administrative region.
8 J. Baxendale and S. Dewar, ibidem, p. 14.
9 R. Nyberg in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 43.
10 S. Gourova in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 119.
11 TACIS stands for Technical Assistance for the CIS Countries.
12 Other European sources of assistance in aid of Russia exist: the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights, ECHO, etc.
13 For instance, the 1997 Steel Agreement that expired in 2001 or the 1998 Textile Agreement.
14 R. Nyberg in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 24.
15 R. Nyberg, ibidem, p. 46.
16 European Union, Delegation of the European Commission in Russia, Kaliningrad and the EU – Facts and Figures, MEMO/02/192, Brussels, 18 September 2002, p. 1.
17 For more details on these projects, see European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the Council. The EU and Kaliningrad, Brussels, 17 January 2001, COM(2001)26 final, annex II.
18 A. Sergounin and L. Fairlie, 2001, p. 12.
19 For an outlook of the position of the Kaliningrad authorities, see S. Gourova in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000.
20 The rules set by the Schengen acquis aim at facilitating EU internal border crossings while strengthening the controls at the external borders of the Union.
21 See J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 14.
22 European Union, Delegation of the European Commission in Russia, Kaliningrad and the EU – Facts and Figures, MEMO/02/192, Brussels, 18 September 2002, p. 1.
23 Ibidem.
24 J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, op. cit.
25 J. Baxendale, 2001, p. 459.
26 Ibidem, p. 437, 442 and 461.
27 R. Nyberg in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 55.
28 Lithuania charges $ 15 for a regular visa, $ 8 for a transit visa, $ 25 for a multiple entry visa and $ 18 for a multiple entry transit visa. Poland charges $ 5 for single entry and $ 14 for multiple entry visas. Fees for future transit visas have not been set yet. Russia is reported to charge $ 15 for a regular visa for Lithuanian citizens and $ 35 for Polish citizens. The figures for multiple entry visas are $ 25 and $ 120 respectively. (European Union, Delegation of the European Commission in Russia, Kaliningrad and the EU – Facts and Figures, MEMO/02/192, Brussels, 18 September 2002, p. 2)
29 European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the Council. The EU and Kaliningrad, Bruxelles, 17 January 2001, COM(2001)26 final, p. 5.
30 Ibidem.
31 European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the Council. The EU and Kaliningrad, Brussels, 17 January 2001, COM(2001)26 final, p. 4.
32 Russian Embassy, Intervention de V.V. Poutine, Président de la fédération de Russie au sommet Russie/UE, 1 June 2002,
33 Ibidem.
34 Russian Embassy, De la résolution du Parlement européen pour Kaliningrad, 18 May 2002,
35 M. Hoff, Projet de rapport sur la communication de la Commission au Conseil sur l’UE et Kaliningrad, Parlement européen, Commission des affaires étrangères, des droits de l’homme, de la sécurité commune et de la politique de défense, Bruxelles, 11 janvier 2002, PE 2001/2046(COS).
36 This proposal is arguably a tactical move before the negotiations that will take place at the EU-Russia summit in November 2002. It is clearly unacceptable for the EU at the moment but V. Putin may hope to obtain an intermediate and still favourable agreement.
37 “Possible Solutions to the Specific Problems of the Kaliningrad oblast due to the EU enlargement”.
38 “Thorough Evaluation of the European commission communication to the Council of 17 January 2001”.
39 J. Baxendale, 2001, p. 462.
40 J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 33.
41 M. Hoff, ibidem, p. 13.
42 A.F. Rasmussen, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's speech to the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the 3rd of July 2002,
43 S. Dewar in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 257.
44 J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 164.
45 C. Patten, EU-Russia Summit and Hoff Report on Kaliningrad, 14 May 2002.
46 J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 261.
47 Ibidem, p. 38.
48 D. Hartelius in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 230.
49 Ibidem.
50 V. Usackas in J. Baxendale, S. Dewar and D. Gowan, 2000, p. 150.

To cite this article

Simon Petermann & Geoffroy Matagne, «The EU Enlargement and Russia: The Case of Kaliningrad», Cahiers de Science politique [En ligne], Cahier n°1, URL :