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Borrell to ‘take forward various action tracks’ identified by EU leaders for Russia

"First and foremost this means working to preserve EU unity, which is our strongest asset when dealing with Moscow," EU High Representative noted

BRUSSELS, June 29. /TASS/. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Tuesday that on the instructions from the 27 EU leaders, he would shortly present options for additional restrictive measures for Russia, and would also develop options on topics of possible cooperation with Moscow, a major player on the global stage.

"In the coming weeks and months, I will take forward the various action tracks that leaders have identified," Borrell wrote on his weekly blog.

"First and foremost this means working to preserve EU unity, which is our strongest asset when dealing with Moscow," the high representative blogged. "Second, the European Council invited the Commission and myself to present options for additional restrictive measures to be ready in case Russia continues to breach International law in our member states and in our neighbourhood," he said.

Besides, Borrell said that he would look into potential tracks of cooperation with Moscow. "Third, the European Council also asked the Commission and myself to develop options on topics such as climate and the environment, health, as well as foreign policy issues, where we can explore ways of engaging with Russia. It also recalled the importance of people-to-people contacts, and the need to further support Russian civil society," Josep Borrell said.

He said the European Union was interested in engaging Russia in the settlement of global problems, since Russia is a major global player. "Like it or not, Russia is a major player on the global stage, and it has increased its political presence in many parts of the world, including in countries and regions where EU interests are at stake: Libya, Afghanistan and Syria, as well as the South Caucasus are telling examples. I am also thinking of the JCPOA on Iran, to which Russia is a party and which we must put back on track," said the blog post by the EU foreign policy chief.

Possible cooperation

He also pointed to certain global problems that cannot be solved without Russia. Among them, he mentioned "climate change, where there is a clear need for cooperation". "…we share a continent with Russia, and it remains a vital actor on numerous fronts. We therefore have no alternative but to develop a principled, balanced and strategic approach," the EU diplomat stressed.

The European Council coordinated a balanced way forward, he went on to say. "It followed an intense debate on the last-minute proposal by France and Germany to consider re-establishing Summits with Russia (there have been none since 2014). The pros and cons of this were discussed and in the end, leaders agreed to ‘explore formats and conditionalities of dialogue with Russia’," he went on to say.

"From my side, I can only reiterate my commitment to work on this basis: demanding an improvement of Russia’s behaviour on numerous issues and recognising the need to be ready to engage," the EU high representative stressed.