Medvedev slams EU's "hasty decisions" on Russia sanctions
In this latest edition of the "Global Conversation" euronews has an exclusive interview with the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitri Medvedev.
Tesa Arcilla, euronews:
"Let's start with the fact that you're going to be meeting your European counterparts in Brussels very soon. Earlier this month EU Council President Donald Tusk said that Vladimir Putin’s Russia represents the biggest threat to the unity of the European Union. Is he right?"
"Donald Tusk is not all the European Union. We met before, and I’m aware of his position on various matters. We met under different circumstances. To reiterate, things that a person who heads the European Commission says do not reflect the opinion of the whole of the European Union. Let’s leave that on his conscience" Note - Donald Tusk is the EU President, not the head of the European Commission. That is Jean-Claude Juncker.
"You are going to go there to the European-Asian summit. Obviously, you want to talk about trade. But geopolitics obviously impacts trade. What does Russia have to offer, to put on the table, and what does Russia want in order to fix the relationship between Europe and Russia?"
"First of all, I’d like to say a few words about the ASEM Summit. I think this is a fairly good platform to assess the prospects for expanding cooperation on the European and Asian tracks. Clearly, this summit is not a place where major decisions are made. In this sense, the G20 summit is precisely the venue where decisions are made. Actually, it has been playing that role since 2008. The ASEM Summit is of a consultative nature, but it is nonetheless a productive and important platform in which we participate as well. The previous summit was held in Mongolia. It was a useful meeting where the leaders of the European Union, representatives of Russia, the Asia-Pacific Region and ASEAN countries shared their thoughts. In general, all of this made it possible for us to better understand each other.
If we look back on the current relations between Russia and the EU, let us face it, these relations are going through hard times. We believe that this is the result of rather hasty decisions made by the European Union itself. And I think EU residents are the ones paying for these decisions. I emphasize once again, we did not initiate them. Of course, this negatively affects our country as well. Businesses are paying for it. Ultimately, it affects the people because a significant part of trade and economic cooperation was suspended, and cultural cooperation was reduced significantly. Unfortunately, we have lost our dialogue with some countries.
You mentioned Mr Tusk. Although he is a European official, he nevertheless comes from Poland. I can openly say that we have no relations with Poland at the political or economic dialogue level. Is that good or bad? I am not sure. I think this is not very good, even if we think about the specific history that links our countries. In any case, when I visited Poland at some point, I think we were much closer to establishing a dialogue. Now, this dialogue is nonexistent, and there’s nothing good about that, either."
"I acknowledge that you are saying that Russia thinks that you are not the initiator in this conflict between the two, but Europe probably thinks otherwise. I have just come from Brussels and the conversation happening there most recently is about what the Dutch authorities are saying when they intercepted the cyber attacks in the OPSW, (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), which is the chemical watchdog investigating the Skripal poisoning and the chemical attacks in Syria. Also, there was the coordinated accusation against Russia, from four countries, the Netherlands, the UK, Canada and the US. And you have Jeremy Hunt, (British Foreign Minister), who said that Russia is trying to foster instability throughout the world.
Now, Russia does not accept these accusations, clearly. If Russia does not take these seriously, why should Russia be taken seriously when you present your country there?"
"I don’t quite understand what you mean. You are saying that Russia should be perceived in some way. You see, we attend these events not to be seen in some way, or to receive marks. Estimations may vary. We attend for different reasons. We believe that it is better to cooperate than to refuse to cooperate, talking is better than not talking, and agreeing on things is better than to be in some kind of opposition. Development is better than stagnation. That’s why we take part in all international events of this kind.
Any country has a right to voice its assessments. We listen to them, but Russia’s leaders and our country as a whole do not agree with most of them. But this does not mean we should refuse to communicate. Actually, I suppose that I will have to talk to different types of colleagues at the ASEM Summit. Communication