Challenge East - European Strategies for its Eastern Neighbourhood

After the eastern enlargement of the EU and NATO, the states of Eastern and South-eastern Europe have become geographically close neighbours to both organizations. In order to support them on the path to the liberal democracy and a market economy, Brussels has developed numerous instruments for cooperation with its eastern partners. While the EU continued to seek sustainable economic linkage through the mechanisms of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership program, NATO had to navigate between its reluctance to debate the accession of several eastern states and its own helplessness in the region.
Despite common objectives, the EU has experienced complex challenges in managing relations with authoritarian states like Belarus, Azerbaijan and Russia in various spheres, but also in developing the capacity to speak with unified voice on economic, political and security issues.
This research area focuses on two larger aspects: at first, it aims to analyse Europeans' different, sometimes strongly divergent opinions regarding a common policy in the Eastern neighbourhood, in the Western Balkans, and vis-à-vis Russia. The second focus is the assessment of the changing challenges posed by domestic politics and growing international involvement in the eastern neighbourhood. Perceptions of the "Challenge East" by the EU and NATO will also play a role here.


Avatar Hilz

Prof. Dr. Wolfram Hilz

Avatar Heinemann-Grüder

Prof. Dr. Andreas Heinemann-Grüder

Participating Researchers

Avatar Fels

Dr. Enrico Fels

Avatar Heumann

Dr. Hans Dieter Heumann


Avatar Minasyan-Ostermann

Dr. Shushanik Minasyan-Ostermann

Avatar Romanyshyn

Dr. Iulian Romanyshyn

Avatar Weber

Dr. Joachim Weber

Avatar Umbach

Dr. Frank Umbach


Research Projects

Promotion of Democracy in Eastern Europe

Germany and Poland's Role in Europe

Challenge Ukraine

Strategic Competition as a Challenge for Europe

Dialogue Series "European Strategic Dialogue"

Rethinking war from its end. Insights for the war in Ukraine


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