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686 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     678 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

07.07.2016

Russia – EU relations: between sanctions and broader European integration (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

There are three main questions that experts usually ask with regard to the sanctions against Russia. Are the restrictions fair and do they conform to the UN and WTO rules? Do the sanctions help attain the declared political goals? And finally, are the sanctions welcome by the Russian people as the country’s economy focuses on import substitution and strengthens business ties with the East? The answer to all these questions is no.
Russia’s position on economic sanctions is well-known. We oppose them as an instrument of foreign policy, especially bypassing the UN Security Council and international trade agreements. Russia’s policy to restrict agricultural imports from a number of countries is solely intended as a countermeasure. We are ready to revise it as soon as the Western countries lift their sanctions. The sanctions negatively influenced business interests of our foreign partners, including British companies operating on the Russian market.
In spite of an ongoing sanctions pressure and a fall in oil prices, Russia’s economy has managed to adapt to the new reality. Ironically, the current slowdown helped to boost such non-oil exports like wheat. Since exchange rate of the ruble has adjusted along with the country’s financial system, a weaker currency has made wheat purchases from Russia very lucrative. As a matter of fact, while Russian industry witnessed an approximate decline of 3.3 percent last year, the agriculture grew by 3 percent.
The fall of the main macroeconomic indicators has stopped or decreased to the minimum level. During the first half of the current year the amount of Russia’s international reserves has risen from $368 to 394bn as Russia’s corporate debt has fallen significantly. We are now entering a period of stabilization, a clear sign of which is a recent lowering of the key rate by the Bank of Russia. Major international forecasters see the Russian economy bottomed in 2016 and rise up to 1.5 % in 2017.
All of this has been possible thanks to the government anti-crisis programme, which included optimisation of expenses, promotion of import substitution, support for the banking sector. Significant attention is given to helping small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as reducing regulatory burden on the economy.
A great number of leading international experts also recognize that the Russian economy has managed to adapt, for key indicators have dropped much less than expected. It appears that the Russian economy has weathered the sanctions and low oil prices well, while the government has succeeded in implementing systemic changes needed to secure a sustainable long-term growth.
Europe’s geographical closeness to Russia offers huge economic benefits and more cooperation with Russia would be a natural choice. A Eurasian alliance would bring the EU closer to Russia, Central Asia and China economically. Such a Eurasian economic community, based on mutual respect, fair conditions and structural support for poorer states and regions – with no political strings attached – would also lead to a greater security for Europe and might become an important contribution to a peace in 21st century.
This is why Russia strongly supports eventual economic integration between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the EU. Common goals, such as political stability, social justice and economic prosperity make the EAEU and EU natural partners. We believe that there are no contradictions between the two models of cooperation, since both of them are based on similar principles and norms, including those of the WTO. The two Unions could effectively complement each other. Direct dialogue and practical cooperation between the EAEU and the EU would contribute to the resolution of many urgent global and regional issues. In a volatile world with uncertain global development scenarios, regional integration based on pragmatic principles of a trade, customs and market union presents a most prudent and successful way to promote our common interests in the new global environment. So, there are positive choices in Europe, especially at our time of multiple crises. The outcome of the British referendum points in the direction of simpler forms of integration that are more easily understood and accepted by people, and have democratic legitimacy on their side.




LATEST EVENTS

16.01.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions at a plenary session of the Raisina Dialogue international conference, New Delhi, January 15, 2020

Good morning and bon appetit to those who have some food on their tables. I would like first of all to thank the organisers of this conference for the invitation. I understand this is a young forum, but it managed already in a few years to acquire importance, popularity and reputation. It is indeed very appropriate that we get together more often than in the past to discuss where we are in international relations and which way we are heading.


15.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Times of India newspaper, published on January 15, 2020

Question: What areas of cooperation will be in the focus of your visit to India and will determine the strategic partnership between the two states in 2020? What do you think about the Indian-Russian cooperation in general? Sergey Lavrov: This is a special year for our countries. Twenty years ago, India and Russia signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership.


14.01.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's letter to the Times in response to the Polish Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki on World War II

Sir, Polish Ambassador Rzegocki, in his letter published on 9 January, proposes to “question the USSR’s status as liberator”, claiming that Molotov-Ribbentrop pact “sparked the war and a double totalitarian invasion of Poland”. Let me suggest to my Polish colleague to look deeper into the history of that time.


14.01.2020 - Interview of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with the Daily News Sri Lankan newspaper, published on January 13, 2020

Question: Since the end of the Cold War and the inception of the multipolar world order, you have spent many years engaged in international affairs and geopolitics. Are there any peculiarities in the relations between Sri Lanka and Russia originating in that period? Sergey Lavrov: The relations between our states have always been intrinsically valuable and independent from international developments. They have always been and continue to be based on the principles of equality, trust, mutual respect and consideration of one another's interests. The peculiarities specific to certain periods of history are of marginal significance, since they do not affect the inviolability of the bonds of friendship uniting our peoples.


19.12.2019 - President Vladimir Putin replies to a BBC question during his annual press conference Moscow, 19 December 2019

I know what the interests of my country are. And whatever somebody might say about me, this has no importance whatsoever when compared to the fundamental tasks that Russia is interested in solving. But of course, we see, we hear, we understand and we take those views into consideration in our work.


18.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article Neighbours in Europe. Russia-EU: Thirty Years of Relations for Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 18, 2019

Thirty years ago, on December 18, 1989, Brussels hosted the signing of the Agreement on Trade and Commercial and Economic Cooperation between the USSR and the European communities. This date became the point of departure for official relations between Russia as the successor state of the USSR and the European Union. Symbolically, the Agreement was signed slightly over a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that came down in history as a landmark signifying the end of the Cold War, a period, when the continent was divided into two opposing ideological blocs. The founders of the Russia-EU partnership knew that it would be impossible to erase the centuries-old divides on the continent unless a broad framework for cooperation was created in Europe. Both sides intended to make it mutually beneficial, long-term, and resistant to economic and political fluctuations.


06.12.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 26th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, Bratislava, December 5, 2019

Mr Chairperson-in-Office, Mr Secretary General, Ladies and Gentlemen, First of all, allow me to thank Slovakia’s Chairmanship for its hospitality. Here in Bratislava, where Western and Eastern Europe meet, we are reminded that the purpose of our organisation is to facilitate the emergence of shared security through cooperation, as well as the removal of dividing lines and the growth of mutual trust. The goal adopted at the 2010 Astana summit of building a community of equal, comprehensive and indivisible security should remain our utmost priority. Today, CSTO foreign ministers adopted a statement to this effect, reaffirming their commitment to this objective.


29.11.2019 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin’s speech at the opening of the V Russian-British Business Forum in London, 27 November 2019

Ladies and gentlemen! I am pleased with the opportunity to deliver my first speech as Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom at the Russian-British Business Forum. Over the five years, the Forum has become a solid platform for open and direct dialogue and exchange of views, involving both business community and officials. The number of participants has been growing annually. Together, we have managed to create a constructive atmosphere of partnership.


28.11.2019 - Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov’s reply to a media question concerning the recent statement of the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff

Q: How would you comment on the statement made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nicholas Carter that the UK is in a state of cyber war with Russia? Has London raised this matter with Moscow? Has the British side provided any evidence? A.: This is not the first statement of this sort made by the UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Carter, and it certainly needs to be considered in the context of the large-scale anti-Russian propaganda campaign launched by the British government.


21.11.2019 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Moscow, November 20, 2019

We have had very good talks with my Bahraini colleague and friend, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, and we have reached agreements on all the issues we discussed.



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