EU High Representative Calls for Renewed Relations with RussiaEU | January 15, 2015, Thursday // 13:25| views
High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Photo: EPA
EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has suggested renewal in relations with Russia in the spheres of global diplomacy, trade and other issues on Wednesday.
This became evident from a four-page discussion paper, distributed to the 28 EU member states ahead of a meeting of their foreign ministers, scheduled to take place next Monday, EUobserver reports.
The proposed steps, including the possible lifting of sanctions, are dependent on Russia reducing its destabilisation efforts in eastern Ukraine.
Mogherini's paper argues that parallel to the sanctions there should be a more “pro-active approach”, providing both a stick and a carrot to Russia.
The paper calls for differentiation of sanctions into two categories – those related to the annexation of Crimea and those pertaining to destabilisation of eastern Ukraine.
The Crimea sanctions, which include the blacklisting of officials and ban on EU investments, should be continued as long as the annexation remains in place.
The economic sanctions on Russian banks and energy firms could be lifted in case Moscow implements the provisions of the Minsk ceasefire agreement.
Mogherini calls for closer engagement with Russia in tackling global problems with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Libya, Iran nuclear talks, the Middle East Peace Process, North Korea and Ebola.
Moghereini also proposes for closer cooperation with the recently launched Eurasian Economic Union on technical issues such as customs and transit of goods.
Further steps include visa-facilitation, climate change talks, renewal of student exchanges and science projects under Erasmus and Horizon 2020 schemes.
In the long term, Mogherini foresees restoration of EU-Russia summits and visa-free regime.
EU leaders are divided on the continuation of sanctions as countries such as Poland, the UK, the Baltic states and some of the Nordic countries support their prolongation, while France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Cyprus, Slovakia and the Czech Republic demand their cancellation.
The recent renewal of violence in eastern Ukraine prevented German efforts of organising a summit on the Ukrainian crisis in Kazakhstan.