Delegation of the European Union to Russia

Relations with Russia: EU's guiding principles

Bruxelles, 15/03/2016 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 190313_11
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On 14 March, the Foreign Affairs Council, among other issues, took stock of EU-Russia relations. The ministers unanimously supported five principles guiding the EU's policy towards Russia.

Speaking at the press conference following the Council Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, said in particular:

"We had a very positive work session on Russia with the ministers, not focusing on sanctions for once, but on our bilateral common policy of EU-Russia relations. We will come back to the sanctions decisions in due time, either at the Foreign Affairs Council and/or at the European Council.

Let me stress that we had, among the 28, unanimity on five guiding principles of the European Union's policy towards Russia:

The first of these guiding principles is the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as a key element for any substantial change in our relations. By the way, this is an important week, it is the week where two years ago the illegal annexation of Crimea took place and we re-stated our common strong position of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea.

The second principle is strengthening relations with our Eastern Partners and other neighbours, in particular in Central Asia, and we had very good discussions on how to proceed in this respect.

Third, strengthening internal European Union resilience, in particular in view of energy security, hybrid threats and strategic communication, but not only.

Fourth principle we all agreed on is the need for selective engagement with Russia, both on foreign policy issues – this is clear, when it comes to Iran or the Middle East Peace Process or Syria, but also DPRK, migration or counter-terrorism, climate change – but also in other areas where there is a clear European Union's interest.

The fifth of our guiding principles is the willingness to support more and more the Russian civil society and engage and invest in people-to-people contacts and exchanges and policies that are related to that, with a particular view to the youth of Russia and the youth of the European Union because we see the future of our countries as something we need to invest into.

This, as I said, was not a difficult discussion. We had a very much united discussion and I believe this is going to be extremely relevant for the follow-up of our work. Obviously we will follow this up and in particular the Commission will have in the coming months also discussion on that part of the work, which will be framed by the political decisions or conversations we had today with the Ministers."

Further information:

Outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting

Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council

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