ROME, June 14. /TASS/. No conditions for fundamental changes in the EU’s approach to Russia are in place yet, but some of the EU countries have eased their stance somewhat, the director of the International Affairs Institute (IAI), Nathalie Tocci, told TASS in an interview on Wednesday.
"The dynamics of Europe-Russia relations is completely independent. These relations depend on the two parties concerned, and not on the United States. That Europe is dependent on the United States is a widely spread opinion in Russia, which does not quite agree with the reality. In relations with Russia, in both their positive and negative aspects the EU’s structural features play the main role," Tocci said, when asked to what extent the emerging rifts between the leaders of the European countries and US President Donald Trump might contribute to the EU’s more independent policy towards Russia.
"For now no conditions for cardinal changes are in place, but in relations with Russia today there are many more points of agreement inside the EU than before. That rapprochement occurred thanks to the attitude of such countries as Italy, Spain and Greece," Tocci said.
"It remains to be seen if the changes are temporary or fundamental. Such revaluation inevitably implies revaluation of the European identity and the role of the EU, too. In this context some new aspects may emerge in relations with other countries, such as Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia or China. Such effects will largely be indirect ones, though," Tocci said.
"Russia should become aware that the EU’s certain attitudes by no means indicate the wish to follow in the US footsteps. Right or wrong, they are the EU’s own opinions. They do not change automatically with the winds blowing from the other side of the Atlantic. The Europeans, too, are still to understand a great deal about Russia," she added.