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REUNIR - Resilience, Enlargement, Union, Neighbourhood, International Relations Future-proofing EU security, Enlargement and Eastern neighbourhood policies for a new age of international relations

Project description

Navigating geopolitical shifts for a resilient future

The 2022 invasion of Ukraine shattered post-Cold War European security, thrusting the EU into a complex geopolitical arena. Facing challenges from Russia, China, Turkey and other actors, the EU grapples with outdated policies, strained relations and credibility issues in the Western Balkans and countries of the Eastern Partnership. In this context, the EU-funded REUNIR project unites 12 partners across Europe to introduce a foresight approach. Specifically, the project will evaluate threats to the resilience of candidate countries, identify capability gaps and map perceptions within the EU. The results will offer evidence-based policy recommendations, guiding the EU toward a more secure and resilient future in the ever-evolving landscape of international relations.


Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has ended the post-Cold War European security order, creating new realities in countries neighbouring the EU and shattering illusions in several member states about the Kremlin’s true intentions in wider Europe. By granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and a European perspective to Georgia, the EU has rejected a Russian sphere of influence and instead determined where its future borders should lie. But this decision has not yet led to policies tailored to effectively respond to a geopolitical context which also sees China and other state actors competing for influence. The Eastern Partnership still needs to be fitted with security and connectivity components. In the accession process, existing formats had already reached their limits with, inter alia, the obstructionism by certain member states that is linked to the divisive issue of EU internal reform. This has cost the EU a lot of credibility in the Western Balkans and will take years to resolve.
REUNIR, a project with 12 partners from across Europe, examines how the EU can strengthen its foreign and security toolboxes to bolster the resilience and transformation of (potential) candidate countries in a new age of international relations. REUNIR’s foresight approach takes the fundamental uncertainty and openness of alternative futures seriously. Adding the effects of ‘protean power’ unleashed in unforeseen circumstances to a multi-disciplinary approach to the research of the EU’s ‘control power’ in relations with strategic rivals, REUNIR empirically assesses foreign threats to the military, socio-economic and democratic resilience of 9 neighbouring countries, determines capability shortfalls, maps local perceptions of the EU’s support and political perspectives inside the EU on neighbourhood relations. Outlining scenarios up to 2035, REUNIR offers evidence-based policy recommendations to mitigate malign foreign interference and strengthen the EU’s external action.


Net EU contribution
€ 568 930,00
1000 Bruxelles / Brussel

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Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/ Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest Arr. de Bruxelles-Capitale/Arr. Brussel-Hoofdstad
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 568 930,00

Participants (11)