Russian Ambassador To EU Hoping For “New EU Cycle” Of EU-Russia Relations
Vladimi Chizov, Russia’s long-serving EU ambassador expects ‘a new beginning” in EU-Russia relations during the new EU institutional cycle, he said during a speech at a dinner hosted yesterday (10th December) to mark 30 years since the then USSR started relations with the European Union.
Ambassador Chizhov’s background covers much of the history of the relations between the EU and Russia, having attended 30 of the 32 EU-Russia summits held since 1998.
However, the last EU-Russia summit was held in January 2014, nearly five years ago. Since then, political relations have reached an all-time low to be essentially frozen, and sanctions and counter-sanctions have been imposed.
However, Ambassador Chizov stated that “I believe it is short-sighted to continue remaining at a “semi-frozen interaction” stage on the Russia-EU track while a bilateral dialogue between Moscow and a whole range of European capitals is gaining momentum. Make no mistake: no significant international problem can be resolved without Russia, and our tasks on the international arena are converging in many aspects, far beyond the so-called “selective engagement” strategy. Besides, our economies are mutually complementary, common transport and energy infrastructure has long existed and continues to expand. A synergy of human, scientific, technical and resource capacities of Russia and the EU, and of the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union, in broader terms, would open new horizons to develop our countries and facilitate defending our positions within growing global competition.”
The diplomat said he remembers numerous milestones Moscow and Brussels have gone through, many difficult situations, but also joint successes and achievements.
“I am one hundred percent sure: in the course of another EU institutional cycle that started just ten days ago, we may witness a “new beginning” of our relations that, given the experience we have had, will be mature, wise and mutually respectful.”
The EU has recently changed much of its leadership as previous diplomats came to the end of their careers. EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has been replaced by Ursula von der Leyen, while the EU’s Liasion Officer, Donald Tusk, has been replaced by the former Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel.
It remains to be seen whether the new EU regime, which has inherited an EU that has been failing to deal with Brexit and recently broke promises to Albania and Montenegro over membership bids, will move on from the Crimea issue which sparked off the problems with Russia.
Few EU representatives were present at the reception, although the Russian side had apparently been very generous in food and drinks.
Peter Stano, the spokesperson to the new EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said that EU-Russia relations are guided by certain principles and the EU was abiding by them. He said there would be no specific statement on the anniversary, and regarding Russia, the main focus was the implementation of the Minsk peace agreement regarding Ukraine.
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