Russian MFA on Strategy for the Western Balkans: Our principle is not “with us or against us”


       
Moscow, 9 February, 2018 - 12:55 (META) 

Russia sees no obstacles in developing relations with countries that want to become members of the European Union, and does not approach them with the principle “with us or against us,” said a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zaharova when she was asked to comment on the European Commission’s Strategy for EU Enlargement with countries from the Western Balkans, including Macedonia.

Zakharova did not want to comment on the Strategy, pointing out that they, “should study it first” and then “share its conclusions”.

“As far as our relations with both the Western Balkan countries and the European Union countries are concerned, they are of fundamental importance to us. We are developing relations with these countries, as well as with the integrative associations in which they belong”, said Zakharova, answering a question regarding how the Russian MFA assesses the European Commission’s Strategy and what impact it will have on Moscow’s relations with the countries of this region and with the European Union.

She pointed out that Russia’s position has always been clear on this issue.

“We, of course, set off from EU membership and the respective obligations of the countries of the Union, and we strive for harmonious development in several directions, both in the bilateral format and in the format of the Union. As far as those non-EU members are concerned and looking at their membership or closer interaction with the European Union, we see no obstacles in developing relations with them and we never force the question “you are with us or against us.” We are always for the harmonization of these relationships. We believe that practice and experience show that such a way is possible”, said Zakharova.