Excerpts from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a joint news conference following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, Enzo Moavero Milanesi,
Moscow, 8 October 2018
Moscow is interested in a strong European Union that would act as a predictable and pragmatic partner and would pursue a foreign policy based on the interests of Europe and EU members. […] Dialogue between Moscow and Brussels should be rectified and reinvigorated. […]
As far as sanctions and ways to further develop our relations are concerned, undoubtedly, many governments in the EU already understand how abnormal and unhealthy current environment is. They favour substantial clarification of the issues, to be led by fundamental profound interests of European countries and, of course, those of the Russian Federation, rather than ideological arguments, or the logic of Euro-Atlantic solidarity. […]
I believe that core interests of European nations will prevail. The business communities have produced quite a few assessments that show the extent of the damage the current situation is fraught with, what losses have already been sustained. I think nobody wants this to continue. We expect that we will return to the basis of our relations and restore all the cooperation mechanisms between Russia and the EU, including summits and regular meetings of the Russia−EU Permanent Partnership Council, as well as functioning of more than 20 sectoral dialogues.
The fact that Brussels is perceiving the current state of affairs with increasing common sense is confirmed by the beginning of recovery of some dialogues, for example, the one on migration issues. There are also good prospects for our work on counteracting terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as on energy. Although the energy dialogue has not been resumed to its full extent, our Minister of Energy and the European Commissioner for Energy maintain regular contacts. We have full understanding of where we are. We are acting pragmatically. I think common sense will prevail. This is also illustrated by the fact that within the last 18-24 months trade between Russia and the EU started to return to an upward trend and continues to grow fairly steadily. We will welcome this trend and will always be open to constructive proposals aimed at resuming our relations in the interests of Russia and our partners.