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Senior Russian lawmaker says Russia-EU relations in deadlock

February 02, 2014, 18:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, February 02, (ITAR-TASS). The relations between Russia and the European Union are in a deadlock, which was demonstrated by the Russia-EU summit in Brussels on January 28, a senior Russian lawmaker from the lower house of parliament said.

“The summit in Brussels showed: the EU-Russia relations have come to a deadlock. To move them out of the deadlock, the EU leadership and its approaches need to be refreshed,” Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma's international affairs committee, wrote on Twitter.

A member of the European Parliament, ex-Swedish defense minister Bjorn von Sydow agreed with Pushkov when speaking live on the Voice of Russia radio to comment on the results of the Russia-EU summit.

“I think little may currently happen between us. No initiatives are seen from either side, which means work should be carried out in this direction. Of course, oil and gas cooperation will continue, but there is a lull in the economic and political fields,” Sydow said.

“I don’t like it myself,” he said, adding that he believes many EU governments are discontented with the situation.

He complained of “little trust between the sides” and said there were no visible changes in the situation yet.

Russia and the EU cooperate successfully in various fields, including Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process and the fight against piracy in Africa. However, the two sides’ positions differ on some issues, including closer integration of former Soviet republics, in particular, Ukraine, with Europe.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday at the 50th Munich Security Conference that Western politicians have a “strange” understanding of the Ukrainian people’s freedom of choice. In this way he commented on assurances by his counterparts from the EU and the United States that Ukraine is choosing closer integration with Europe.

Ukraine has been hit by anti-government protests since Kiev refused to sign an association agreement with the EU at a summit in Vilnius in November 2013 and decided to seek closer ties with Russia instead.

President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday after the Brussels summit that Russia and the EU agreed to speed up work on a new basic agreement that would replace the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The new treaty is designed to establish a firm legal basis for the bilateral ties. The sides say it should be a short but overwhelming cooperation document.

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