MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and Europe will need to revive their relationship and work toward creation of an integrated space from Lisbon to Vladivostok after a key EU political summit this week, Lithuanian diplomat Vygaudas Usackas said in an interview published Thursday in Kommersant business daily.
Russia will take part in the two-day Eastern Partnership Summit, a multilateral political meeting of Europe’s top leaders, starting Thursday in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius.
Usackas, who is head of the European Union’s delegation to Russia, said bilateral relations between Europe and Russia are going through difficult times, but that the EU would like to strengthen strategic dialogue with its eastern neighbor.
Tension between Russia and the EU has heightened lately over an ongoing tug-of-war over the EU's aspiration to clinch economic association deals with several former Soviet states, including Ukraine and Moldova.
The EU claims Russia has tried to pressure those states to join its Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan, rather than sign its own trade agreements. Moscow claims the EU unfairly told Kiev to sign up for the economic deal now or never.
Ukraine, which was widely expected to sign the EU accord in Vilnius, made an abrupt U-turn last week by announcing it was shelving the plan, sparking mass protests by pro-European integration Ukrainians.