EU-Russia relations: the beginning of a warmer winter?

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC, went to Baghdad were she was welcomed by Nazar Al-Kheer Allah, Iraqi Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations (EC Audiovisual Services, 22/12/2014).

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC, went to Baghdad were she was welcomed by Nazar Al-Kheer Allah, Iraqi Undersecretary for Bilateral Relations (EC Audiovisual Services, 22/12/2014).

The year 2014 has seen many changes and overturns in the EU-Russia relations, but although the New Year is just a few hours away, there is still time for the last swing. From both sides.

Yesterday a few Russian media outlets reported that the High Representative of the European Union Federica Mogherini stated that Western powers want to find common ground with Russia and end their confrontational approach over Ukraine. During an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Mogherini suggested to open up a direct dialogue with Moscow, denying that the EU differs from the US in its position towards dealing with the crisis at the same time.

Mogherini reportedly said to the Italian newspaper that it is “in Moscow’s interests to help end the Ukrainian conflict”, while the West must “begin direct discussions with Moscow over our mutual relations and the role Russia can play in other crises”. “Russia has an important role not only in Ukraine, but also in Syria, Iran, the Middle East, and Libya”, she continued.

Mogherini’s words, which were promptly spread by Russian media, might show a change in the EU’s approach towards Russia, which comes right after a possible flip from Moscow’s side too, after months of cold statements. What remains uncertain though, is whether this change applies on the communication strategy solely, like a big refurbishment of the “Kremlin’s façade”, or somewhere deeper. In a statement titled “Main Foreign Policy Events of 2014″, the Russian Foreign Ministry last Saturday described the EU as its “neighbour and major trade and economics partner”.

The Ministry has pointed its relations with the European Union as a “priority in its international policy”, adding that despite the current deteriorating Russia-EU ties, partnership with Europe will be among the country’s top priorities “for years to come”. Just a few weeks have passed since the South Stream project has been officially dropped by Russian leaders, and these last announcements sound like a big, unexpected U-turn.

What is very interesting to see though is how the Ministry seems to drag attention on the whole geopolitical situation of the year which is now coming to its end, more than on the actors and creators of any instability. “2014 was marked by the accumulation of instability elements and build-up of crisis occurrences in international relations, which are undergoing a transition period, connected with the shaping of a new polycentric world order”, the document says.

In the document, which is still only available in Russian, the Foreign Ministry also refers to the sanctions placed on Russia by the EU and United States over the Ukraine crisis, claiming those are targeting “not only individuals, but also the state economy” and that Moscow’s response was retaliatory to such measures, according to the translation provided by RT.

But just a few days before those statements, the situation looked a bit different. At those times the words of a very influential Russian diplomat, Vladimir Chizhov, Ambassador to the European Union, sounded not so pro-positive. On Wednesday 24th, in an interview with TASS, the Russian news agency, Mr. Chizhov doubted that the European Union is a reliable partner due to its political course towards Russia. “Surely, the EU will remain an important partner for us. But I should admit with regret that EU reliability as a partner now after what had happened is not so evident,” he said.

Mr. Chizhov openly referred to the sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU as the latest Russian proof of the above, but claiming that the EU has no consensus on whether sanctions against Russia should be abolished, extended or increased. According to him this happens “not because the EU is tired of taking sanctions decisions, but because their efficiency is low”.

Although no one could see a glimmer for a thawing in such words, nowadays it’s clear that something is moving, and that the situation will look different after a “warm” winter to come. It’s probably the instability of the economic situation, including the ruble crisis, to set the agenda, and shape the communication strategy of both sides. EU leaders already held strategic talks on Russia earlier this month, with German chancellor Angela Merkel foreseeing only a lifting of sanctions on Russia, France and Italy taking a softer line, and many foreign Ministers – as German Frank-Walter Steinmeier from the centre-left SPD party in the grand coalition – warning that a Russian economic collapse would be dangerous for Europe.

It was only yesterday when Austrian President Heinz Fischer cited possible further sanctions against Russia as a “foolish and damaging” step. “I believe it is a false and even damaging point of view that the sanctions can be toughened to the extent, when Russia is weak,” he said during an interview with APA news agency.

On Christmas eve Russia’s TASS reported the news that the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini is expected to visit Moscow by the end of this winter. On the same day Mr. Chiznov underlined that Moscow is ready to cooperate with the EU leadership and that it is “hopeful that the dialogue will start working at all levels”. On the same day he also added that Brussels has begun to understand that “the sanctions have no prospect”, but it’s never too late to change your mind.

All in all, during these Christmas holidays we notice a major shift in the EU-Russia relations. All roads point towards a more solid soil in international relations in 2015 and this is undeniably something that the world needs.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Half the world’s population is still offline. Here’s why that matters

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

GREXIT final wrap-up: nobody believed Aesop’s boy who cried wolf so many times

Ercom, cutting-edge Telco solutions from Europe

EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

The vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion spreads fast engulfing more children

The global economy isn’t working for women. Here’s what world leaders must do

European Confederation of Junior Enterprises hosts in Geneva the Junior Enterprise World Conference

Schaeuble wants IMF out and bailouts ‘a la carte’ with Germany only to gain

Eurozone banks to separate risky activities: Can they stay afloat?

EU Commission closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports?

Parliament sets up plan to fight the 3,600 criminal rings of EU

Force used against protestors in Gaza ‘wholly disproportionate’ says UN human rights chief

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

A day in the life of a refugee: the wait

Future EU farm policy: Agriculture MEPs urge fair funding, no renationalisation

Is a full course lunch, a new Commissioner and 2 million anti-TTIP citizens what you would call a “Fresh Start”?

The reason the world showed limited empathy to the Orlando victims

Does the world have strong enough institutions to handle risks like Trump and Brexit?

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

EU leads the torn away South Sudan to a new bloody civil war

EU elections: The louder the threats and the doomsaying the heavier the weight of the vote

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem. Here’s what to do about it

Can Kiev make face to mounting economic problems and social unrest?

Why lay people don’t expect anything good from G20

Why France, Italy and the US press Germany to accept a cheaper euro and pay for Greece

IMF’s Lagarde: Ukraine must fight corruption

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

Reflections on the the biggest refugee crisis since World War II

EU security and defence industry prepares positions for ‘producers’ and ‘customers’

We can build a carbon-neutral world by 2050. Here’s how

Tourism offers much to the EU gets a little

EU growth in 2015 to be again sluggish; Can the Juncker Commission fight this out?

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Merry Christmas from Erdogan, Putin, Mogherini and the Polish firefighter

Politics needs to “Youth UP” in order the ensure the future of our democracies

TTIP is not dead as of yet, the 15th round of negotiations in New York shouts

Benjamin Franklin was wrong: Amazon can tax evade

The EU lets the bankers go on rigging the benchmarks

Everyone has ‘a moral imperative’ to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, says UN chief

A Brussels antithesis reveals where the EU is heading

The opportunity of studying Medicine abroad

Professional practices of primary health care for Brazilian health and gender inequality

Mining the deep seabed will harm biodiversity. We need to talk about it

The US may be “open” to reviving TTIP, while the EU designs the future of trade with China

At last a solid base for the European Banking Union

IMF: The global economy keeps growing except Eurozone

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

The cuts on 2014 Budget will divide deeply the EU

Income inequality threatens the socio-political structures in developed countries

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

GSMA announces speakers for Mobile 360 Series-West Africa

Greece at the mercy of ECB while sailing through uncharted waters

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more integrated Europe

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Lack of investment and ambition means Youth Guarantee not reaching potential

Capital markets selloff: The financial moguls send messages to monetary authorities

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s