27 February 2020
Moscow: 19:33
London: 16:33

Consular queries:  
+44 (0) 203 668 7474  
info@rusemb.org.uk  

 
725 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     717 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

SPEECHES, INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES

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.

The subsequent years were marked by painstaking efforts to create a multi-level architecture of collaboration between Russia and the EU. A solid legal infrastructure evolved based to this day on the 1994 Russia-EU Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. In May 2003, during the Russia-EU summit in St Petersburg, yet another step forward was taken in overcoming the division of Europe, with the parties reaching an agreement on establishing a strategic partnership based on four common spaces – economic; external security; freedom, security and justice; science and education, including cultural aspects. We worked together on long-term projects, which, had they been brought to a logical end, would have yielded tangible dividends to all those who live on our shared continent and substantially enhanced the level of their security, prosperity and comfort. Among other things, the case in point was easing the terms – up to a visa-free regime – of reciprocal travel of Russian and EU citizens, establishing close cooperation between the law enforcement agencies in fighting the terrorist and organised crime threats, coordinating efforts to settle regional crises and conflicts, and forming an energy union. But the sides failed to ensure stability of the declared partnership between Russia and the EU.

Regrettably, many people in the West looked at the prospects of a common European future exclusively from the viewpoint of “winners” in the Cold War. The principles of equal cooperation have given way to the illusion that Euro-Atlantic security can only be based on NATO, and that Europe can only be associated with the European Union, with everything else as nothing more than the concentric circles around these “centres of legitimacy.”

The practical aspects of our relations with Brussels included instances of increasing priority given to the EU’s supranational norms and attempts to apply them retroactively to all other countries. We were urged to accept off-the-shelf decisions made in the EU, which ruled out any discussion or respect for Russia’s interests. In other words, we were invited to join the mainstream and follow the lead, as well as to accept the interpretation of “common values,” many of which contradict the traditions of the European civilisation based on Christianity.

Our Brussels partners preferred to keep silent about the fact that their concept of four common spaces was based on the understanding that any attempts to force our neighbours to choose between Russia and the EU would be dangerous and counterproductive. Well before 2014, an alarming sign in the Russia-EU relations was the launch of the Eastern Partnership initiative, which was aimed, as it turned out later, at creating a distance between Russia and its closest neighbours connected by centuries-old ties. We are still feeling the negative impact of this egocentric policy.

In short, the EU was not prepared to have equal relations with Russia. In the Brussels vocabulary, Europe equalled the European Union, as if there is only one “real” Europe (the EU member states), and all the other countries must work hard to earn the “high title” of Europeans. They are creating artificial dividing line on the continent and distorting both geography and history. A glaring example of that is the numerous EU resolutions that equate the Nazis who sought to exterminate European nations with the Soviet soldiers who saved these nations from annihilation.

It is a deeply flawed approach, which is not benefitting the European integration project and contradicts its initial unification and peace-building spirit. Russia has always been and will remain an integral part of Europe geographically, historically and culturally. We have a unique identity of which we are proud, but we are part of the European civilisational space. Over a period of many centuries, Russia contributed to the expansion of that space all the way to the Pacific coast. The development of our identity was influenced by advanced European ideas. Likewise, modern European culture would have been different without the process of mutual enrichment with Russia.

Despite our differences, Russia and the EU are important trade and economic partners, as well as neighbours who can share their common responsibility for peace, prosperity and security in this part of Eurasia. By the way, if it were not for the EU’s biased position in the context of Ukrainian developments, Russia-EU trade would have reached $500 billion, becoming a global factor comparable to the EU’s trade with the United States or China.

There is increasing evidence of our EU partners’ realisation that the current situation is abnormal. Russia’s relations with the majority of EU states are being revitalised. We have made the first contacts with the new EU leadership, which assumed office in early December.

The new institutional cycle in the EU history offers an opportunity to relaunch relations with Russia. At the very least, we can ponder what we mean to each other in this rapidly changing world. We hope that the EU decision-makers will opt for strategic thinking and will act in the spirit of the great European politicians, such as Charles de Gaulle and Helmut Kohl, who thought in terms of a common European home. The artificial restrictions imposed on trade to suit someone’s geopolitical interests will not settle the existing problems but will only create more obstacles and will weaken Europe’s economic positions. There is no doubt that European cultures and economies can only protect their identities and competitive ability from the onslaught of globalisation by combining the relative competitive advantages of all countries and integration associations in the common Eurasian space.

Russia-EU relations are not developing in a vacuum. A multipolar world has become a reality. New centres of financial, economic, technological and military power have emerged in the Asia Pacific Region. We are taking this crucial factor into consideration during the process of shaping our foreign policy. The new realities not only entail additional trans-border challenges but also open opportunities for getting resources for our own development where previously we did not even look. In any case, combining efforts enhances our capabilities. Amid the persisting international turbulence, it is important to ensure the rule of international law. No attempts should be made to replace it with the “rules-based order” that the West has invented to promote its interests. It is only then that we will be able to assure the effectiveness of multilateral efforts.




LATEST EVENTS

27.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the ceremony of signing a cooperation agreement between the Foreign Ministry, the Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS) and the Federal Archive Agency (Rosarkhiv) on information coverage of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, Moscow, February 26, 2020

We have just signed a cooperation agreement with the Federal Archive Agency and ITAR-TASS on covering the events that will be devoted to and are already being held to honour the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our Foreign Ministry has established very close, collaborative and friendly relations with our colleagues – the Federal Archive Agency and ITAR-TASS. We are combining the capabilities of federal executive bodies and our media on a very topical theme.


21.02.2020 - Ambassador Andrei Kelin's welcoming words at the reception to honour the Russian Armed Forces

Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen, We have gathered today to honour the Russian Armed Forces. Our Army has seen many glorious victories. Those who liberated Europe and all humanity from fascism on the battlefields of the World War II are still among us. After that terrible war, 75 years ago, the leaders of the USSR, United Kingdom and United States agreed to create the United Nations Organisation designed to prevent such devastating tragedies.


19.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during the joint news conference following Russian-Italian talks between foreign and defence ministers in the two-plus-two format, Rome, February 18, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my gratitude for the hospitality we traditionally receive in Italy. I completely agree that the fourth joint meeting between the Russian and Italian foreign and defence ministers was held in a constructive manner. The last time we met in this format was in 2013. We find that resuming work in this format is timely and important.


18.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to media questions following the 56th Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 17, 2020

The Munich Security Conference is over. You have seen all the speeches. Our media have already made assessments. I will be glad to answer your questions. Question: Did you discuss with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo President Donald Trump’s participation in the meeting of the UN Security Council permanent members proposed by Russia? Is the US position now clear? Did you discuss extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)? Did you manage to reach any agreement?


17.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions during the 56th Munich Security Conference, Global Disorder – Other Opportunities for a New Agenda, Munich, February 15, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, This year marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in WWII. Sadly, there are attempts to brazenly distort history and to equate the liberators of Europe with Nazi murderers. These attempts will remain on the conscience of those behind them. No one and nothing can belittle the decisive role of the Red Army and the Soviet people in defeating Nazism. At the same time, we will always keep in our minds the spirit of Alliance during the War and the ability of the states to unite and fight the common threat regardless of ideological differences.


10.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s answers to questions from Rossiyskaya Gazeta editorial office and its regional partners during a business breakfast, Moscow, February 10, 2020

Question: There are numerous reports in the media about preparations for the upcoming Defender-Europe 20 military exercise, due to take place this May in a number of Eastern European countries. This will be the largest US military exercise in the past 25 years. Given the considerable cooling in relations between Russia and NATO, are we witnessing the birth of a new Cold War?


06.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Prensa Latina News Agency, February 5, 2020

Question: What is your opinion of the new US punitive measures to toughen the embargo against Cuba that has been in place for almost 60 years? Sergey Lavrov: We can see that US attempts to reformat the Latin American region in line with its geopolitical interests aim to overthrow the “undesirable regimes” in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. The archaic Monroe Doctrine serves as the ideological foundation. In the run-up to the presidential election, the White House continues to ratchet up sanctions against those states which preserve their national independence, sovereignty and identity. This openly anti-human policy runs counter to the generally accepted principles of international law, including the UN Charter.


03.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Rossiya 1 television channel for the documentary Antarctica: 200 Years of Peace, Moscow, February 2, 2020

Sergey Lavrov: Antarctica, which was discovered 200 years ago by the first Russian expedition of Faddey Bellinsgauzen and Mikhail Lazarev, is a continent where international relations, as it was decided after long disputes, are guided by the Antarctic Treaty signed 60 years ago. The 1959 Antarctic Treaty sets out the principles that regulate the activities of all countries in Antarctica. First of all, the contracting parties pledged to use Antarctica for peaceful purposes only, preserve its biological resources and prohibit all activities relating to Antarctic mineral resources, except for scientific research (the latter provision was confirmed by the contracting parties for at least 50 years at their meeting in Madrid in 1991). The treaty also bans any measures of a military nature, such as the establishment of military bases, the carrying out of military manoeuvres, as well as the testing of any type of weapons. There is also a provision on cooperation based on mutual respect and conducted in the interests of the whole of humankind.


03.02.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article titled “Russia and Indonesia: 70 years of fruitful cooperation” published in the Indonesian national newspaper Kompas, February 2, 2020

This year, Russia and Indonesia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. Any significant date is always a good occasion both for summing up what has been achieved so far and for drafting plans for the future.


28.01.2020 - Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the opening of the 28th International Educational Christmas Readings, “The Great Victory: Heritage and Inheritors,” Moscow, January 27, 2020

Your Holiness, colleagues, friends, I am happy to join you in greeting the hosts, participants and guests of the 28th International Educational Christmas Readings.



all messages