The Russian foreign Ministry intends to “take inventory” of relations with the EU, said the newspaper “Kommersant” Russian diplomatic source. “This stage of the relationship does not fit us too”, — said the interlocutor of the edition, commenting on the scheduled Monday meeting of the foreign Ministers of the European Union, which, according to the newspaper sources, it is planned to discuss bilateral relations between Brussels and Moscow.
In particular, a source in EU institutions told “Kommersant” that the head of the European foreign ministries on 14 February, will try to take a step towards developing a new long-term strategy towards Russia. “The events of the last two years in European capitals came to the following conclusion: in any case a return to relations with Russia in the spirit of business as usual. Now we really have no common vision of relations with Russia, there are only sanctions, but it can’t last forever. We need a new normal [“new normality”] — a long-term strategy of cooperation with Moscow under new conditions”, — he explained.
Another source in the EU institutions noted that following the results of negotiations on Monday is not expected concrete decisions. According to him, the meeting will be held in the format of “brainstorming”, “the results of which could develop into something concrete at the next consultation”. No proposals for the EU foreign Ministers by the European Commission will not, he said.
A Russian diplomatic source in conversation with “Kommersant” noted that without removal from Russia of the main part of the sanctions to go to any “new normality” will not work.
Diplomat from Moscow in one of the key countries of the EU, told the newspaper that the main obstacle in the way of “substantive conversations” about a possible mitigation of anti-Russian sanctions is “the lack of progress in the implementation of even the first, seemingly the most simple points of the Minsk agreements. We are talking about a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine and withdrawal of heavy weapons. Another European diplomat told the publication that the adoption in the coming months the EU any decisions which significantly ease sanctions, it is unlikely. Against such steps, he said, by the United States.
11 March “RIA Novosti” and TASS reported citing high-ranking sources in the EU, the foreign Ministers of member countries of the European Union on Monday to discuss relations with Russia, but no sanctions policy and the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The source of “RIA Novosti” emphasized that the policy of Brussels “characterized by firmness and unity” and that the meeting is not planned nor “discussion of revision of the [EU] policy” or “the discussion of sanctions or the implementation of the Minsk agreements” (quoted by RIA Novosti). “This policy debate. The Ministers will discuss the state of Affairs in relations with Russia, what was the situation and how it has changed over the past two years. The Board’s conclusions is not expected,” he said.
According to the source TASS, the EU leaders decided to include in the agenda of the Council of relations with Russia, since the last time the Ministers have discussed this in January 2015. “Now there is a good opportunity in a tranquil setting to take stock and to reaffirm our policy to emphasize the need for unity of the countries of the EU,” he said (quoted by TASS).