Professor Rilka Dragneva-Lewers

Dr Rilka Dragneva-Lewers

Birmingham Law School
Professor of International Legal Studies
Associate Dean of Birmingham Law School

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Rilka Dragneva-Lewers is Professor of International Legal Studies at Birmingham Law School. She works on regional integration, EU external policy, legal reform and international diffusion of norms with a special reference to Eastern Europe. Her recent publications focus on Eurasian economic integration and its overlaps with EU initiatives in the post-Soviet region. Rilka’s work has strong comparative and interdisciplinary elements. Her expertise in the field has enabled her to engage in interactions with policy-makers and leading think-tanks, law reform technical assistance projects, and professional training activities.

Rilka is a member of the editorial board of Review of Central and East European Law and International Journal of Law and Management.


  • LLB (Sofia University, Bulgaria)
  • MA (Sussex)
  • PhD (Sussex)


Rilka Dragneva-Lewers joined the Birmingham Law School in September 2012. Previous to that she was at the School of Law, University of Manchester (2006-2012) and Department of Law, University of Leiden (The Netherlands) (1999-2006). Rilka has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Sussex (2001) the Faculty of Law, University of Trento, Italy (2003 and 2004). Between 1999 and 2004 she was also actively engaged in technical assistance programmes and consulting activities in Eastern Europe for the World Bank, IFC and the EBRD. She was a legal counsel of a large foreign trade company before embarking on her academic career. 

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising high quality postgraduate research projects in the following areas:

Preferential trade agreements and regional blocs; Comparative regional economic integration law; Eurasian economic integration
EU Neighbourhood Policy and external relations with Eastern Europe and Eurasia; EU-Russia relations
Legal reform; Law and Development; External promotion of rule of law and good governance
Comparative Corporate Governance

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Professor Dragneva’s recent research focuses on regional integration in the post-Soviet region, EU’s Eastern policy and the related critical issues of legality and institutional design, overlap and compatibility of integration regimes, and implementation of international obligations.

Rilka has participated in a number of high profile research projects, including: H2020 EU-funded collaborative project ‘EU-STRAT: The EU and Eastern Partnership Countries - An Inside-Out Analysis and Strategic Assessment’ (May 2016- April 2019), the AHRC-funded project ‘Ukraine’s Hidden Tragedy: Understanding the Outcomes of Population Displacement from the Country’s War-Torn Regions’ (November 2016- July 2018), and the ESRC-funded project ‘Russia and the EU in the Common Neighbourhood: Export of Governance and Legal (In) Compatibility’ (January 2013-September 2016).


Recent publications


Dimitrova, A & Dragneva, R 2022, 'How the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and its consequences necessitated adaptation and drove innovation in the EU', JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies.

Dragneva, R & Hartwell, C 2022, 'The crisis of the multilateral order in Eurasia: authoritarian regionalism and its limits', Politics and Governance, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 95-105.

Dragneva, R & Hartwell, C 2020, 'The Eurasian Economic Union: Integration without liberalisation?', Post-Communist Economies.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Dragneva, R 2021, Pork, Peace and Principles: the Relations between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union. in R Petrov, S Lorenzmeier & C Vedder (eds), EU External Relations Law: Shared Competences and Shared Values in Agreements Between the EU and Its Eastern Neighbourhood. Springer, pp. 229-252.

Dragneva-Lewers, R 2018, Dispute-resolution and regional integration in the post-Soviet space. in R Howse, H Ruiz-Fabri, G Ulfstein & MQ Zang (eds), The case of the economic court of the CIS. Studies on International Courts and Tribunals, Cambridge University Press.


Dragneva, R 2021, Russia's agri-food trade within the Eurasian Economic Union. in S Wegren & F Nilssen (eds), Russia’s Role in the Contemporary International Agri-Food Trade System. 1 edn, Palgrave Advances in Bioeconomy: Economics and Politics, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 225-251.


Dragneva, R 2022, 'Russia's agri-food trade: the Eurasian dimension', Russian Analytical Digest, vol. 275, pp. 16-19.

Discussion paper

Dragneva, R 2019 'What role for the Eurasian Economic Union in Greater Eurasia?' IDEAS Report, LSE, pp. 34-38. <>

Other contribution

Wolczuk, K & Dragneva, R 2022, Putin's Eurasian dream may soon become a nightmare. Chatham House. <>

Wolczuk, K & Dragneva, R 2022, Russia's longstanding problem with Ukraine's borders. Chatham House. <>

Wolczuk, K, Dragneva, R & Wallace, J 2022, What is the Eurasian Economic Union?. Chatham House. <>

Dragneva, R 2019, Interdependencies in the Eastern Partnership Region: Implications for the EU. EU-STRAT. <>

Working paper

Jonavicius, L, Delcour, L, Dragneva, R & Wolczuk, K 2019 'Russian Interests, Strategies and Instruments in the Common Neighbourhood'. <>

Dragneva, R, Delcour, L, Jaroszewicz, M, Kardas, S & Ungureanu, C 2018 'How Bilateral, Regional and International Regimes Shape the Extent, Significance and Nature of Interdependencies' No. 8 edn, EU-STRAT. <>

Dragneva, R 2018 'The Eurasian Economic Union: Putin's geopolitical project' Foreign Policy Research Institute. <>

View all publications in research portal


Russia and the EU in the Common Neighbourhood: Export of Governance and Legal (In)Compatibility

Eurasian economic integration (post Soviet countries)

EU initiatives in the post-Soviet region

Legal aspects of trade with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union