Russia and EU not to reach reasonable compromise using language of sanctions and threats
At the end of last week, the EU summit was held in Brussels, where one of the main topics of discussion was the issue of EU unity and its relations with Russia.
Commenting on the results of the summit, Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladislav Belov noted that on March 16, on the eve of the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the former mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz met with their French colleagues to discuss the interaction of Berlin and Paris within the EU: "The Paris-Berlin axis is negatively perceived by the Nordic countries, the southern countries, the Visegrad Group. [French President Emmanuel] Macron and Merkel promote the idea of "Multi-speed Europe". The Visegrad Group protests against a unified immigration policy. On March 19, Angela Merkel met with the Polish colleagues, where she more or less settled this issue."
Therefore, the topic of Russia, raised by London at the summit, has become one of the main themes. "It is unpleasant that it was overbased. It's unpleasant that Angela Merkel and Macron expressed their unequivocal support to British claims to Russia, saying that this is the most credible version. On the eve of the summit, the German ambassador, along with the British and US ambassadors, did not come to a meeting with Lavrov. All this contradicts what was written in the coalition agreement, in which Russia is designated as a partner with great potential, which mentions the Minsk process and the east of Ukraine," Belov said.
At the same time, according to Moscow State Institute of International Relations associate Nikolai Topornin, the European Union remains Russia's main trade and economic partner: "The events related to the Salisbury incident affect our partnership relations. Now the West European and NATO countries are being consolidated into a single coalition, into a single the front against Russia, which is a serious economic threat to Russia. The main economic project of Russia and the EU is the construction of the North Stream-2. It is planned that the first line will be put into operation in 2019. But eight countries of the European Union sent a letter to the headquarters of the commission, which says that it would be expedient to suspend the project for a number of reasons because it is "toxic" for the European Union. This refers to increasing energy dependence on Russia, which the EU wants to avoid."
The second point, which disturbs Nikolai Topornin, is the situation over Ukraine. "I mean our pipeline, through which we deliver gas to the European Union. It is one of the most important sources of replenishment of the Russian budget. The Stockholm court decide against Russia after Ukraine's claim, there were lawsuits against each other, but as a result Russia was obliged to pay 2 billion 560 million. Now Ukraine makes a claim in respect of the gas transit contract. And they believe that it is necessary to at least double the gas transit price. It creates additional threats to us in the European direction. And these threats are not ephemeral. These are serious threats that could affect the global tasks announced by the president in his address to the Federal Assembly: raising salaries, labor productivity, ensuring economic growth and GDP. Therefore, we need to think about improving relations with the EU and individual countries, because, unfortunately, we are not able to reach a reasonable compromise using language of mutual sanctions and mutual threats," the expert is confident.