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BRUSSELS, December 24. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov doubted that the European Union is a reliable partner due to its political course towards Russia.
“Surely, the EU will remain an important partner for us. But I should admit with regret that EU reliability as a partner now after what had happened is not so evident,” he said in an exclusive interview with TASS.
Chizhov witnesses in EU partners “a certain tendency to pick up from a broad spectrum of partnership what they need, but such selective approach will not work.” “Or we are really getting back to normal cooperation — let there be less emotions, let there be fewer nice slogans, let there be more unpleasant talks, but let there be more substance and mutual respect,” the diplomat said.
The European Union has no consensus on whether sanctions against Russia should be abolished, extended or increased, Chizhov said. “The EU has no consensus either on the long-term abolition of sanctions or in regard to their further buildup or extension,” Chizhov said.
“When the sanctions expire next year, and all the sanctions were introduced for a year and there are no indefinite sanctions in principle, then this issue will be settled: either during a robust discussion or without it,” the diplomat said. The strategic task for the 28-member bloc is to determine the EU’s own policy towards Russia, he said. The diplomat reminded that on the sidelines of the December 18 meeting of the European Council in Brussels, some leaders said that there would be “no new sanctions.”
This comes not because the EU is tired of taking sanctions decisions, but because their efficiency is low, he said.
“And the side effect is great. That’s why as an optimist, I hope that the EU leaders still have common sense. It should tell them that the sanctions way is leading to a deadlock,” he said, adding that the sanctions against Russia had been pushed by the United States.
“The sooner it (EU) comes off this track and returns to normal relations, the better,” he said.
Meanwhile, many EU leaders now say that returning to business as usual is impossible. “We do not need business as usual, we need more sober, frank and fair cooperation without attempts of pulling Russia into some rather disputed premises which the EU calls its own values,” Chizhov said.
The review of the EU sanctions against Russia is expected to be discussed at the regular meeting of EU foreign ministers in late January. Earlier, spokesperson for the EU foreign policy chief Maja Kocijancic said the meeting would focus on forming a common European strategy towards Russia.