Print
Region: Europe
Type: News
Rate this article
(no votes)
 (0 votes)
Share this article

On June 11-12, 2015 RIAC President Igor Ivanov and Director General Andrey Kortunov spoke at the annual conference of the European Council on Foreign Relations held under the title "The Crisis in European Order". The event was attended by over 100 ECFR members and 50 guests who discussed the plentiful challenges currently threatening the European Order, among them Ukraine crisis, cross-border migration, energy security, financial crisis in Greece, possible UK withdrawal from the European Union, rising China, unsettled transatlantic problems, etc.

On June 11-12, 2015 RIAC President Igor Ivanov and Director General Andrey Kortunov spoke at the annual conference of the European Council on Foreign Relations held under the title "The Crisis in European Order".

The event was attended by over 100 ECFR members and 50 guests who discussed the plentiful challenges currently threatening the European Order, among them Ukraine crisis, cross-border migration, energy security, financial crisis in Greece, possible UK withdrawal from the European Union, rising China, unsettled transatlantic problems, etc.

Igor Ivanov's Speech at ECFR Annual Conference

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me start with saying that, in my view, the introductory theses for our panel overdramatize the current situation. The conclusion of the theses is that the European order is destroyed, that Russia is no longer seen as a potential partner but as an adversary and so on.

But what did we see in Europe in the end of 1990s when the Balkans was set on fire, and NATO hurled its military might against Yugoslavia? Did the situation look any easier than now? Not at all. Many of those sitting in this room know this very well.

All the dramatic events and deep contradictions notwithstanding, a sense of pragmatism and common concerns about the future of Europe ultimately prevailed.

Working together we were able to prevent escalation and to stop the war. Moreover, within only two years after the crisis in Yugoslavia the NATO – Russia Council was launched, and a year later Russia and the European Union agreed on the so called ‘four spaces of cooperation’ – by far the most ambitions and comprehensive plan for partnership between Moscow and Brussels. And when Russia celebrated the three hundred years’ anniversary of Saint-Petersburg, fifty seven foreign heads of states – including all prominent Western leaders – joined President Putin in this celebration.

What does this experience teach us? I think that the lesson is more than evident – with due political will, readiness to look for a solution, with the commitment of key players to working together even the most serious crisis can be successfully resolved.

So, what should we do today to change the direction of the European political and strategic developments? Let me share my personal vision on a number of steps that can be taken right away.

First, we must prevent any further escalation of the military conflict in the centre of Europe. Everybody seems to agree that the Minsk agreements have to be implemented in full by all the sides without any exceptions.

Second, we have to enhance and to broaden the Normandy format. Aside from meetings at the very top or at foreign ministers’ level we need a permanent high-level Contact Group in Kiev that will work on a day-to-day basis with the parties to the conflict. It is critically important that U.S. should be included in the Contact Group to avoid any misunderstandings or failures of communication across the Atlantic. An EU presence in this or that form seems to be not only natural, but truly indispensable.

Third, Russia and the West should refrain from hostile and inflammatory rhetoric that fuels public mistrust and hatred, if we do not want to turn the current crisis into a long-term confrontation that will divide our common continent for years, if not decades, to come.

Fourth, both sides have to invest political energy and capital in rescuing what can still be saved from the best days of EU-Russia co-operation. The common European humanitarian space remains one of the major accomplishments of our relations over the last twenty years and it should be preserved in spite of all political disputes and conflicts. So far as is possible, we should maintain our joint projects on education and research, in culture and civil society, environmental protection and climate change. These are the seeds of the future renaissance of the EU–Russia relationship.

Fifth, – and, maybe, the most important, – the common efforts to manage the Ukrainian crisis should become a prelude to a serious dialogue about the foundations of a new European security system. All of us understand that the time for such a dialogue has come, but this conversation will be efficient and productive only if it is based on an appropriate political mandate from the highest political leaderships of the Euro-Atlantic states.

I don’t want to imply that we should be getting back to “business as usual” by ignoring the deep political divisions between Moscow and Brussels. That approach wouldn’t work even if both sides were prepared to stick by it. But it is clear that we have reached a crossroads and have to choose our respective paths.

 

Rate this article
(no votes)
 (0 votes)
Share this article

Poll conducted

  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
 
For business
For researchers
For students