EU’s Borrell Moscow trip cannot be judged a failure
The European Commission does not consider Borrell’s visit to Moscow unsuccessful
The head of European diplomacy himself called the trip &# 171; very difficult&# 187;
The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, fully trusts the bloc’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, despite a difficult visit to Moscow, during which Russia expelled several European diplomats, a European Commission official said on Monday..
On Friday, Moscow expelled diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden, accusing them of participating in unsanctioned protests in support of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
“The way the visit was organized, how the press conference was held, what (Russian Foreign Minister) Mr. (Sergei) Lavrov said, what the Russian authorities did to European diplomats on the same day, clearly shows in which direction Russia wants to move.” – said at the next briefing the representative of the European Commission Eric Mamer.
“The trip was necessary. You can’t refuse a trip because it seems difficult, he added. “You can’t judge the success of a visit based on what happens at a given moment.”.
Earlier, MEP Riho Terras, former Minister of Defense of Estonia, called for the resignation of Borrell.
Borrell traveled to Moscow in an attempt to restart relations with Russia and secure the release of Navalny. As he wrote on his blog, the press conference with Lavrov was “aggressive” and the trip as a whole was “very difficult”.
Borrell learned about the expulsion of diplomats from social networks when he was negotiating with Lavrov. As Borrell wrote on his blog on Sunday, his calls to reverse the decision went unheeded..
Borrel said Moscow’s actions reinforced his conviction that “Europe and Russia are drifting apart.”.
“Russia is increasingly moving away from Europe and sees democratic values as an existential threat,” he wrote. – Member States will determine the next steps. And yes, there may be sanctions among these steps. “.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday that the Russian authorities “were not the initiators of the winding down” of relations with the EU.
According to Peskov, the decision to expel the diplomats was made a day before Borrell’s visit..
According to two diplomatic sources, some EU countries are calling for new sanctions against Moscow.
Poland on Monday convened a videoconference with other EU countries, in which the UK, USA, Canada, Ukraine and Navalny’s associates were also invited to participate.
Apparently, this meeting will be the first forum in which the West will discuss a possible joint reaction to the Navalny case and the expulsion of diplomats.