Challenges and Opportunities of Economic Integration within a Wider European and Eurasian Space

The international research project “Challenges and Opportunities of Economic Integration within a Wider European and Eurasian Space” focuses on plausible futures of economic cooperation in the Greater Eurasian space and interplay between different integration processes in the region. A particular specific aim of the project is to analyze the potential and conditions for the creation of a common economic space between the European Union (EU) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

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High-level dialogue: bridging science-to-policy and East-to-West 

Since the project start, IIASA has been a unique platform where high-level officials and experts from the European Commission (EC), the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC),  the EU and EAEU member states, as well as other Eurasian and Asian countries, could meet and discuss challenges and opportunities of (re-) establishing closer economic relations and an eventual creation of a “common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok”, with potential of transforming in even broader platform – “from Lisbon to Shanghai”.

Due to the tensioned EU-Russia political and hence economic relations, caused by the Ukrainian crisis, the interactions of the officials and experts have practically stopped since 2014. IIASA has been the only platform, where a constructive dialogue continued at a representative level and the highest scientific rigor.

More than 250 recognized researchers, high-level policy makers and business representatives across the globe already contributed to research project and are now a part of IIASA’s unique network.

Due to the “Greater Eurasia” blog, the research project has also become a virtual platform for dialog, where leading researchers, business leaders and government officials debate and share their views on the challenges and prospects for deeper economic cooperation on the Eurasian continent.

History and timeline

Launch (June 2013): The project was launched upon the initiative from the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation and the Russian Academy of Sciences. It has since received strong support from the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), the Eurasian Economic Commission and the European Commission.

Phase I (2014-2016): From March 2014 to November 2016, IIASA conducted the first phase of the project, consisting out of seven sectorial high-level workshops. It delivered the policy-makers from the EC and the EEC a first realistic insight on the realities of creating a common economic space “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”.

Transition phase (2017): In 2017, three one-year studies were conducted, that produced concrete results and policy recommendation on three key sectors determining the potentials for EU – EAEU cooperation: 1. mutual foreign direct investment; 2. transcontinental transport corridors & logistics; 3. harmonizing technical barriers to trade and sanitary-phytosanitary measures. A high-level meeting (June), joint workshop with German business (October) and a Youth Forum (December) were held as part of this transition phase.

Phase II (2018-2020/2022): Phase II of the research project is aimed at provide the deep empirical foundations and scientific foresight, necessary for preparing the potential EU - EAEU agreement(s). Along the way, IIASA will conduct sector-based research tailored to the interests of the project's stakeholders.

Further focus points also include: 1. possibilities linking the existing AA/DCFTAs between the EU and its three partners, as well as the remaining Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia and Azerbaijan) to the possible development of EU-EAEU economic integration; 2. China’s economic policies and projects regarding Greater Eurasia (e.g. the “One Belt – One Road” initiative).

Research team

The international research project “Challenges and Opportunities of Economic Integration within a Wider European and Eurasian Space” combines well-established and specialized research institutions from across Europe and Eurasia. The project is coordinated by a core group of recognized researchers.

  • Péter Balás, Deputy Director-General for Trade (2005-2014), European Commission, Head, Support Group for Ukraine, European Commission (2014-2015); Senior Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis, IIASA.
  • Michael Emerson, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to Russia (1991 – 1995); Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS); Senior Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis, IIASA.
  • Gabriel Felbermayr, Ph.D., Director, Centre for International Economics, ifo Institute.
  • Peter Havlik, Senior Economist, Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), Guest Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis, IIASA.
  • Leena  Ilmola-Sheppard, Ph.D., Senior Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis, IIASA.
  • Jurij Kofner, Head, Eurasian sector, Centre for Complex European and International Studies, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”; Guest Research Assistant, Advanced Systems Analysis, IIASA.
  • Elena Rovenskaya, Ph.D., Program Director, Advanced Systems Analysis, IIASA.
  • Anastasia Stepanova, Ph.D., Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis, IIASA.
  • Evgeny Vinokurov, Dr. Sc., Director, Centre for Integration Studies, Eurasian Development Bank (EDB); Senior Research Scholar, Advanced Systems Analysis, IIASA.

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Last edited: 24 August 2018


Elena Rovenskaya

Program Director

Advanced Systems Analysis

Acting Program Director

Evolution and Ecology

T +43(0) 2236 807 608


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313