Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he hopes that the EU-Russian relationship will return to normal, given their shared economic and security priorities.
“We hope that common sense will prevail and the Russian-EU relationship will get back to normal and will be governed by respect for each other’s interests, considered that Russia and the EU have common goals – from stable growth to an effective fight against numerous security challenges”, he told a Bulgarian publication, the International Life.
Lavrov said years of tit-for-tat restrictions had cost EU companies billions of euros in missed revenues. He invited Europe to make the first step by scrapping the sanctions.
“Then Russia will cancel its countermeasures. The ball is in EU’s court”, the diplomat noted.
The European Union has tied any normalisation of relations with Russia with the peace process in eastern Ukraine. Lavrov questioned Brussels’ reasoning, saying it was obvious that Kiev had torpedoed all efforts to end the conflict.
He warned the European Union that its stability depended on a bunch of EU functionaries who were openly hostile to and tried to demonise Russia, painting it as the main security threat for Europe.
“Unfortunately, well-being and stability of the European home depend on a small group of extremely aggressive Russophobes inside the EU who basically act on Washington’s orders”, Lavrov said.
More recently, there has been a revival in the political dialogue between Russia and Europe, the minister added. Moscow and Brussels have been cooperating on scientific and cultural projects, he said, which means there are objectively no reasons for the ties between the two neighbours to go south.
Ties between Russia and the European Union soured after a conflict broke out in Ukraine in 2014. The bloc imposed economic sanctions on Russia, which retaliated by banning a variety of EU food imports.Mexico tour bus crash kills more than 20, injures dozens