Drawing on the heretodox IR literature which interprets the EU as a neo-medieval empire (Zielonka, 2006, Marks, 2012) this paper examines the territorial limes of EU environmental policy asking how the EU attempts to impose its environmental acquis on states which lie outside the EU but are proximate. This EU 'near abroadí exists in a complex weave of association, accession and partnership. In a few cases, notably Russia, the relationship is complicated by a wider geopolitical background of intensive diplomatic conflict. While there has been an extensive literature on EU policy exporting, conditionality and accession, as drivers for a wider adoption of the EUís environmental acquis, this paper examines the scope for EU environmental Ďsoft imperialismí and for coercion rather than co-operation when faced with countries like Russia who are imperial rivals and do not seek either accession nor even traditional association with the EU. What is examined here is the EUís capacity for soft coercion over environmental policy divergences with difficult states like Russia. This draft utilizes a single case study of how the EU has been able to deploy its soft power in a hard way via the 2010 Timber regulations, to face down endemic Russian illegal forestry practices as part of a wider global problem. It is argued that the evidence suggests a rather limited scope on the part of the EU for coercion at the EUís limes over environmental issues.