VIENNA, June 6. /TASS/. Austria will exert efforts to establish good relations between the EU and Russia during its presidency in the European Council starting July 2018, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated on Wednesday in Brussels, during the presentation of Vienna’s work agenda for the duration of its presidency to the European Commission, the Austria Press Agency informs.
"We will continue our efforts to uphold communication channels with Russia, despite the necessary response to its actions, and take steps toward each other," Kurz stated. According to him, the relations between the EU and Russia are currently "in a deadlock, and one can note their unsatisfactory condition."
The Austrian chancellor called on the EU to work with Russia on an international level. "Without Russia, we cannot find a solution to Ukraine and Syria," Kurz stressed. He also noted that Vienna would continue to cooperate with the EU on the issue of anti-Russian sanctions.
The Austrian government arrived in Brussels on Wednesday to present the program of Austria’s presidency to the European Council. "Russia plays a crucial role in providing safety and stability in Europe and around the world, which is why Austria will direct its efforts to continue EU-Russia relations basing on five principles, and to strengthen the dialogue between Russia and the EU," the Austrian government’s program states.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Vienna on June 5, where he held negotiations with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. According to Van der Bellen, Russia forms part of Europe, and it is impossible to resolve international issues without it. Kurz noted that Austrian officials hope for progress in the realization of the Minsk agreements on settling the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the gradual lifting of sanctions against Moscow.