HORIZON EUROPE FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME┋Political perspectives for the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans



Expected Outcome

Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Improvement of the European Union’s neighbourhood policy and accession process, thanks to a clear vision for the political agenda of the European Union towards the Eastern Neighbourhood countries and the Western Balkans, based on a deep and nuanced analytical basis.
  • Forecast and scenarios of the geopolitical ambitions of Russia, China and other countries towards the countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood and accession candidates.
  • Strengthened resilience and foreign policy arsenal of the European Union against military threats on the European continent thanks to policy recommendations.


The political and economic consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine go well beyond Ukrainian borders. The European Union had to change overnight from a neighbourhood policy focused on incremental reform to one that is about the survival of some Eastern Neighbourhood countries as independent, self-determined states. Ukraine’s application for European Union membership has been immediately replicated by Georgia and Moldova. Russian and Chinese influence in some accession candidate countries is on the rise. This opens crucial questions about the European Union’s enlargement strategy, requiring not only political answers but also academic reflection and expertise. Therefore, proposals are expected to analyse the European Union’s current neighbourhood and enlargement strategy and toolbox in the light of the new situation where military aggression or the threat with it and political exploitation of economic dependencies are once more used as foreign policy tools in Europe. Based on this, they should provide innovative perspectives on the origins and evolutions of policies aimed at stabilising and democratising the Eastern Neighbourhood along with evidence-based policy options to adapt this strategy to the new state of play.

Furthermore, in the context of the accession process, there is need to strengthen mechanisms of compliance with the acquis in the area of social policies and to strengthen social cohesion to avoid brain drain and care drain in Eastern Partnership and Western Balkans countries.

Proposals are invited to take this dimension into account when developing robust evidence-based, forward-looking visions for the political agenda of the European Union towards the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans.

In addition, the Russian ambition to have a sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union countries puts governments in the Eastern Neighbourhood in a much more vulnerable position. It increased their dependencies on big geopolitical powers, be it the West, China or Russia. It also highlighted Russia’s ambition to play an even more decisive political role in the larger region, including the power to install governments of its choice through a return to Cold War tactics. Is this shift back to brutal military intervention the sign of a new age in international relations and new geopolitical blocks? Proposals are expected to analyse and forecast possible scenarios regarding Russia, but also China and other countries’ geopolitical ambitions towards the countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood, grounded in a historical perspective. Based on sound and robust analyses, they should provide policy recommendations, scenarios and options to strengthen the Union’s resilience and diplomatic arsenal in a potential new era of military intervention on the continent. They are also expected to provide evidence-based advice on whether the European Union should factor military interventions into its foreign policy toolbox, and offer perspectives as to what implications that would entail.

Proposals are strongly encouraged to involve stakeholders, including non-state actors and citizens, from the countries in the topic scope. The consortium must include at least one entity from the following countries: Georgia, Republic of Moldova or Ukraine. Legal entities from these countries must take part in the project as beneficiaries.

Participation of Ukrainian researchers in exile with refugee status and employed by eligible beneficiaries is strongly encouraged and would be an asset.

International cooperation is strongly encouraged.

Proposals are encouraged to network with and build on previously funded projects under the Horizon Europe calls[1], Horizon 2020 or other EU programmes, e.g. Global Europe[2], as appropriate. Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this topic and other relevant projects are strongly encouraged.

[1] in particular HORIZON-CL2-2022-DEMOCRACY-01-09: Global governance for a world in transition: Norms, institutions, actors, HORIZON-CL2-2021-DEMOCRACY-01-04: Democratic politics in the EU’s neighbourhood, as well as other relevant projects funded under other clusters and pillars of Horizon Europe,

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/international-partnerships/global-europe-programming_en

Date de candidature
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie
Sciences sociales : Droit, Géographie, Gestion et administration publique, Relations internationales, Science politique, Sciences de l'information et de la communication, Sociologie