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In a telephone interview on Thursday (11 February) the Ambassador of Russia to the EU Vladimir Chizhov evokes the recent visit of EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell to Moscow, which he helped arrange.
Vladimir Chizhov is a career diplomat. Before being appointed ambassador to the EU in 2005, he was Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. He spoke to EURACTIV’s senior editor Georgi Gotev.
Euractiv: Why did you, why did Russia, as host country, humiliate your European guest, Mr. Borrell, who came to you with an open mind and an open heart?
Vladimir Chizhov: I am surprised to hear such a question. Even if the High Representative feels humiliated, I believe this humiliation comes not from Russia – it certainly didn’t happen in Moscow, but rather here in Brussels upon his return.
I saw the debate in the European Parliament, and I read a number of comments, some of which actually preceded his trip to Moscow, while most of them followed the trip. Evidently, there were people who didn’t like the very idea of the trip. And I appreciate that despite these “friendly advices” Josep Borrell has shown will and determination to go to Moscow.
So this artificially tense situation was created in Brussels, not in Moscow.
E: Mr Borrell probably now regrets having gone to Moscow.
VC: Well, you will have to ask him. But I hope he does not because the visit was useful. The discussion was quite frank and highly professional.
E: Maybe that discussion took place behind closed doors. But what we saw at the press conference as Russian public communication was quite shocking. During the exchange, Russian foreign minister Lavrov described the EU as an “unreliable partner”? Can you explain what this means? In what way is the EU an unreliable partner to Russia?
VC: Well, I think it refers to the previous record of Russia-EU relations. You are aware probably, having dealt with this topic for a long time,