Thursday

27th Feb 2020

Juncker agrees to visit Russia in June

  • Juncker's trip to St. Petersburg next month would be a first by an EU leader since 2014 (Photo: European Commission)

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has agreed to visit Russia in June.

It will be the highest-profile visit by an EU official since the Ukraine crisis erupted in 2014.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Juncker's spokesman Margaritis Schinas told journalists in Brussels that the commission president planned to take part in the St Petersburg international economic forum on 16 June in order to “convey to the Russian leadership the EU perspective on current state of EU-Russian relations”.

He would not confirm whether Juncker would hold any direct talks with president Vladimir Putin, but said it was "evident" the two would meet at the forum.

He said he did not see inconsistency between Juncker's trip and the decision, to be taken just days later, on whether to extend sanctions against Russia.

EU countries are divided over the measures imposed in 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea and continued support for Ukrainian rebels.

Putin last week travelled to Greece to lobby against extending the sanctions. Other EU countries such as Italy and Hungary are also reluctant to extend the punishing sanctions, saying they also hurt European economies.

EU countries agreed in March that easing sanctions would be conditional on a peace accord in Ukraine. But countries also supported "selective engagement with Russia" and a "need to engage in people-to-people contacts".

Juncker has called for a "practical relationship" with Moscow.

Last October he caused a stir when he said: “We must make efforts towards a practical relationship with Russia. It is not sexy, but that must be the case, we can’t go on like this.”

He added: “Russia must be treated decently. We can’t let our relationship with Russia be dictated by Washington.”

Opinion

Trump's 'plan' for Israel will go against EU values

As someone who has been personally targeted by Benjamin Netanyahu's incitement against Arabs and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Druze, I still believe that peace is possible. But Donald Trump's 'plan' will be a gift to Netanyahu's campaign.

China spy suspect worked for EU for 30 years

The former EU ambassador suspected by German prosecutors of spying for China was Gerhard Sabathil, according to EU officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. WHO on coronavirus in Europe: 'be prepared'
  2. Frontex hits activist pair with €24,000 legal bill
  3. Turkish jets keep violating Greek airspace
  4. 'Fragmented' Slovakia goes to polls amid corruption woes
  5. EU development policy needs a fresh start
  6. EU critical of China on Swedish dissident publisher
  7. NGOs urge EU to tackle meat consumption 'problem'
  8. Coronavirus: voices from a quarantined Italian town

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us