Europe & Russia "drifting apart" says EU Chief Borrell after Moscow humiliation

Following his disastrous meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, European Council Chief Josep Borrell stated that his visit to Russia "highlighted that Russia does not want to seize the opportunity to have a more constructive dialogue with the EU. This is regrettable and we will have to draw the consequences."

Following an "aggressively-staged press conference" and the expulsion of three EU diplomats timed perfectly to belittle him personally, Borrell wrote in his blog that the EU needs to take time to "reflect carefully on the direction we want to give to our relations with Russia and proceed in a united manner with determination."

In the context of the attempted murder and subsequent imprisonment of oppositionist Alexei Navalny, Borrell reminded Lavrov of Russia’s obligations in the field of human rights stemming from international commitments it has freely assumed, (Russia is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights of the Council of Europe).

At the same time thousands of Navalny's supporters were languishing behind bars, many badly beaten by security services.

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EU foreign ministers are due to meet on February 22nd to discuss Borrell's trip to Russia. The decision to impose sanctions in relation to the Navalny case must be decided unanimously after a proposal from member states.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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