In 2010, Russia established a customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus. This customs union became the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2015. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined the EAEU the same year. The EAEU has legal jurisdiction in many trade-related policy areas, such as customs, competition, trade defence and industrial products regulation, intellectual property rights and foreign trade policy. Russia has chosen not to participate in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of the European Union, as it aims for an “equal partner” of the EU (unlike the “junior partnership” that Russia sees in the ENP). Therefore, Russia and the European Union have agreed to create four common areas of cooperation in different areas. In practice, there are no significant differences between the sum of these agreements and the ENP action plans (adopted jointly by the EU and its ENP partners) (in addition to the designation). In both cases, the final agreement is based on provisions of the Community acquis and is discussed and adopted together. This is why the common areas are funded by the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (IEVP), which also funds the ENP. On 4 May 2010, the EU and the Russian Federation announced the opening of visa-free negotiations between their territories.  However, the EU Council of Ministers announced that the EU was not fully prepared to open borders, as the risk of increased human trafficking and drug imports into Europe and Russia`s laid-back borders with Kazakhstan is high.
Instead, they will try to give Russia a “roadmap for visa-freeness.” While this does not legally bind the EU to grant visa-free travel to Russian citizens in the future, it significantly improves the chances of adopting a new regime and obliges the EU to actively consider this concept if the conditions of the roadmap are met. On the other hand, Russia has agreed to facilitate access for EU citizens for whom access is not free on that date, in particular because of Russian foreign policy, which states that “visa exemption must be reciprocal between states”. However, both the EU and Russia recognise that many problems need to be resolved before the visa exemption is introduced. In line with the Joint Statement of the Priority Area “Partnership for Modernization”, the following areas should be included: increasing investment opportunities in key sectors that drive growth and innovation; Strengthen and deepen bilateral trade and economic cooperation and create favourable conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises; Promote harmonization of regulations and technical standards and the high level of intellectual property protection; Transportation Promote the development of sustainable coal farm operations and energy efficiency and support international negotiations on combating climate change; Improve cooperation in the fields of innovation, research and development and space; Ensure balanced development through measures in response to the regional and social consequences of economic restructuring; Ensure the functioning of the judicial system and strengthen the fight against corruption; Promote the development of people-to-people relations and the strengthening of dialogue with civil society to promote the participation of individuals and businesses.