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Moscow welcomes Barroso’s position on cooperation btw Russia, Eastern partnership

March 14, 2014, 21:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 14, /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow welcomes European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso’s position on cooperation between Russia and partners in the Eastern Neighborhood policy and sizes it up as an attempt to justify the EU and to catch up with the pace of the historical process.

The Foreign Ministry issued its official comment on the speech Barroso made in the European Parliament Thursday as part of a discussion on Ukraine. He spoke extensively about the relations of the EU’s eastern neighbors with Russia.

He said the EU was not asking its eastern neighbors to turn their backs to Russia. On the contrary, it was urging them to maintain relations of good-neighborliness and to build up their traditional commercial ties.

Such statements could only be hailed were they taken out of the current context, the Foreign Ministry said. “But these utterances by the European Commission President are little more than attempt to offer justifications and catch up with the pace of historic process.”

“European Commission refused to notice the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia for quite a long time, while engagement in it determines the main rules for organizing trade relations with other countries,” the ministry said. “More than that, officials in Brussels got so much preoccupied with the process of pinning down partners in the Western sphere of influence assumed an ‘either/or’ approach.”

“Many analysts who are capable of taking a sober look at developments in Ukraine and who care for the interests of their countries, say that problem, which detonated the Ukrainian blast, was the EU’s inability to produce a realistic mechanism of collaboration with Russia as regards participants in the Eastern Partnership project,” the ministry said.

“Russia has more than once proposed a more profound thinking and joint efforts to flesh out the initiative on construction of a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok and the Eurasian integration process as its foundation,” the ministry said. “These proposals continue holding legal effect today.”

“Along with this, the Foreign Ministry is asking itself how the following thing should be interpreted from the angle of view of a subsequent search for consistency in the actions and decisions of the European Commission President and his colleagues: the European Commission responded with a refusal to Armenia’s proposal to sign a political part of the Association Agreement in the autumn of 2013, saying that political association and a deep and comprehensive zone of free trade were possible only in a single package” while in March 2014 it decided to sign the political part of the agreement with the Ukraine separately from the rest of its provisions.

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