: RFE/RL: New EU policy calls Russia 'Strategic Challenge'

10:15 Jun. 28, 2016

RFE/RL: New EU policy calls Russia 'Strategic Challenge'

Symbol photo about relations between the West and Russia (GettyImages Photo)

The document also leaves room for improving relations between Moscow and Brussels 

A new European Union policy document describes Russia as "a key strategic challenge," wording that constitutes a compromise between member states that are more hawkish toward Moscow and those resisting an escalation of rhetoric, according to RFE/RL. 

The document, which is set to be endorsed at a June 28 summit of leaders, was produced by the bloc's diplomatic corps after EU heads of state last year tasked EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini with providing a strategic assessment to "guide the European Union's global actions in the future."

Member states urging a harder line toward the Kremlin, such as Lithuania and Poland, had wanted the document to use the phrase "strategic problem" when describing Russia's role in European politics -- wording that European Council President Donald Tusk of Poland has previously used.

Read also Germany says 'Russia is no longer our partner, but rival'

Other, mainly southern member states wanted something more similar to the phrase "strategic partner" that was used to describe Russia before its 2014 seizure and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea territory and the ensuing war between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists.

The 32-page document, seen by RFE/RL, says that the EU "will not recognize Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea nor accept the destabilization of eastern Ukraine. 

However, it leaves an opening for improved relations between Brussels and Moscow, stating that "the EU and Russia are interdependent." Full story

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