Non-recognizing the Other? Discursive deligitimation of the EAEU by the EU

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The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), despite being regarded as the most developed integration project in the post-Soviet area, has faced different hurdles in acquiring international recognition. Especially, the EU, the EAEU’s Significant Other, has been reluctant to formally recognize it, in spite of close ties with EAEU member states as well as of its own self-image as a supporter of regional integrations. This paper focuses on this puzzle and examines how the EU has been discursively explaining its non-recognition of the EAEU at the institutional level. Based on the analysis of EU-articulated narratives since 2010, the paper reveals three dominant representations of the EAEU in the EU discourse: (1) Russia’s geopolitical project; (2) a protectionist union; and (3) a dysfunctional union. These narratives have been used by Brussels to create the EAEU’s image as a threatening Other, thus justifying why the EU cannot formally recognize the EAEU and officially engage with it. The paper also identifies five different stages of the EU’s discursive representation of the EAEU since 2010, when its tone and content varied. The paper concludes that such non-recognition from the Significant Other still limits the EAEU’s international agency despite its increasing interest in cooperation with non-Western actors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • discourse
  • Eurasian Economic Union
  • European Union
  • legitimacy
  • recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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