The U.S. should quit interfering in Russia-Europe relations

2021-03-17 16:54:22Xinhua Editor : Zhang Mingxin ECNS App Download

Russia and Europe must find common ground before their split in ties becomes deeper and leads to a full-blown confrontation.

Rik Daems, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, visited Moscow earlier this week. Russia's Federation Council said on Monday that Moscow was prepared to hold an honest and open dialogue with the leading European human rights organization despite outside attempts to use the latter as a tool to ramp up confrontation.

Before Daems' visit, Russia expelled three European diplomats during European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell's visit to Moscow. A round of EU restrictions against Russian officials then followed over the case of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader allegedly poisoned by a nerve agent and who is currently jailed.

Despite the recent rifts, the two sides have a long tradition of cooperation. One example is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, aimed at transporting gas beneath the Baltic Sea from the world's largest reserves in Russia to EU members.

The joint venture between Russian energy company Gazprom and other five European partners epitomizes the strategic significance of their ties. The project can strengthen the EU's internal energy market, enhance the security of supplies, and address their climate goals.

Examples of such cooperation can be seen everywhere from energy to space exploration.

Russia-Europe relations are further complicated by the United States. Even with the energy pipeline 95 percent complete, Washington is attempting to halt the remaining construction.

The United States continues bombarding Russia with sanctions. The new administration considers Russia a security threat and is trying to rope in its most important ally in the EU to antagonize Russia.

The EU is Russia's largest trading partner. The Nord Stream 2 shows that Russia and the EU are capable of cooperating on major projects when they disregard U.S. political interference. This strategic independence approach allows the EU to pursue its own economic interests, and Moscow has already shown a willingness to cooperate.

"Russia and the EU are neighbors. I am convinced that peaceful, stable and safe development of the Eurasian continent serves our common interests. We would be glad to establish constructive cooperation with the EU that would be based on mutual respect and consideration for each other's interests, when and if Brussels is ready," said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

At a time when the world would benefit from a coordinated response to climate change and the ongoing pandemic, stable Russia-EU relations would be most welcome. Enditem

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