MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. The talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell held in Moscow in February were unfairly described by Brussels as a failure; the parties have many areas for cooperation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Thursday.
"[The talks] were absolutely unfairly assessed as a failure. That was largely out of the spotlight but the thing is that [the parties] discussed prospects for promoting dialogue in significant areas, such as healthcare, the fight against climate change, scientific and technological cooperation and the greening of economy in all its aspects, including the outlook for introducing a carbon tax, which can really create totally unnecessary difficulties and obstacles for the development of economic cooperation," he said at a plenary session of the 12th Northern Dimension Forum, which is being held online.
According to Grushko, there is no reasonable alternative to cooperation. "We are ready for joint work [with the EU] based on mutual respect and the search for the balance of interests. We are certain that there are always opportunities for cooperation, even in the current difficult environment," he stressed.
Borrell paid a visit to Moscow on February 4-6. Most politicians, experts in Brussels and European Parliament members called his visit a flop, excoriating the diplomat for not being tough enough, in particular, during the final news conference with Lavrov.
Borrell said after his visit that the EU and Russia had an open and honest dialogue on all bilateral issues ranging from the fight against the pandemic, global climate change and the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program to disagreements over Ukraine, Brussels’ support for blogger Alexey Navalny and the expulsion of Western diplomats who took part in unauthorized protests from Russia. However, the next day, Borrell issued a separate statement, in which he defined the news conference in Moscow as "aggressively-staged" and warned that the EU planned to impose new anti-Russian sanctions.
The tasks and challenges facing Russia and the European Union require devising new approaches and maximum development of all dialogue platforms, Alexander Grushko said.
"We have an objective agenda which we must address instead of staying focused on some things that only seem important and that were more or less inherited from the past," Grushko said. "The tasks and challenges facing us require absolutely new approaches and maximum development of all dialogue platforms."
This agenda includes ecological problems: nuclear power, fuel delivery and new means of power transmission, Grushko explained. "This kind of tasks humanity is confronted with, provided our cooperation is organized properly, will be cementing our common space in the most positive way," he added.