Sunday

13th Oct 2019

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days 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.”

News in Brief

  1. Italy: EU cannot accept Turkish 'blackmail'
  2. Is a Brexit deal still possible?
  3. EU and UK to 'intensify' Brexit talks
  4. Norway hit by train strike over EU regulations
  5. Macron says he warned von der Leyen on Goulard
  6. France: EU will retaliate in aviation state aid battle
  7. EU considers new rules and agency against dirty money
  8. France against accession talks for North Macedonia, Albania

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us