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    EU Interested in Good Ties With Russia - European Commission Ex-Chief

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    Western Sanctions Against Russia (736)
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    Former head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso told Sputnik he hoped relations between Europe and Russia would be normalized.

    DAVOS (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — Europe has no interest whatsoever in there being any tensions in its relations with Russia, and the implementation of the Minsk accords could significantly improve the situation, the former head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, told Sputnik on Friday.

    "We in Europe would like to have a normal constructive relation[ship] with Russia. We have no interest at all in having problems with Russia. Russia is our neighbor and it will always be our neighbor, it is a very important country with a great civilization. In more pragmatic terms it is a very important supplier of energy to Europe," Barroso said.

    He added that respect of the Minsk agreements is the basis for improving relations with Russia.

    "If there is a change in the situation regarding that problem, I think progressively it would be possible to come back to a more normal relationship between Russia and Europe. I wish that happens, sincerely," Barroso pointed out.

    The Minsk accords to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine were signed by representatives of the government in Kiev and the Donbass independence supporters in February 2015. The agreements stipulate a ceasefire and the withdrawal of weapons from the line of contact, among its set of measures.

    Relations between Russia and the European Union went downhill in 2014 when Brussels joined Washington in accusing Moscow of fueling the Ukrainian crisis, imposing several rounds of sanctions against it.

    The Russian authorities have refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive. In response to the Western restrictive measures, Russia announced a one-year food embargo on products originating in states that imposed sanctions against it, in August 2014. The ban has since been extended.

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    Western Sanctions Against Russia (736)

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    European Union, European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, Russia
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