Brussels will pursue its own policy regarding Russia even if the new American administration abandons Barack Obama’s course for US-Russian relations, the EU foreign policy chief announced after dining with EU Foreign Ministers.
“I see the need for the Europeans to strengthen their defence and security agenda and cooperation, regardless of the changes in the administration in the United States,” Federica Mogherini said, referring to US President-elect Donald Trump, RT online reported.
On Monday, EU Foreign Ministers will officially meet and discuss plans to boost European defence cooperation, including the proposal for a European military headquarters.
In her comments late on Sunday night, Mogherini stressed that relations between Moscow and Brussels are not “black and white.” She said the EU is leading a “constructive but also selective engagement” with Russia.
“There is a strong principled position especially on Ukraine and on the other conflicts that we have to our east; and our attention to our eastern partners is going to stay and stay strong,” the EU’s chief diplomat stressed.
Commenting on the overall trend of EU Foreign Ministers’ attitude towards President-elect Trump, Mogherini said the diplomats have managed to reach “unity” in their position.
Before the EU Ministers entertained Mogherini at dinner, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned of the dangers of American isolationism, and the impact it could have on European security, especially when dealing with Moscow.
“We have implemented the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the Cold War. And the United States has significantly strengthened its commitment to European security, deploying a new armoured brigade to eastern Europe and delivering equipment and supplies to support future reinforcements, if needed. This is deterrence, not aggression. We do not seek to provoke a conflict, but to prevent a conflict,” Stoltenberg said in an article in Britain’s Observer newspaper on Sunday.
EU countries have expressed concern over the future of European security after Trump won the US presidential election. During his campaign, the Republican repeatedly criticised NATO, calling the organisation “obsolete”. He also suggested that America might not defend fellow NATO countries that did not help reimburse the Washington for the cost of its troops and bases in Europe.
In addition to the future of NATO, the European capitals are also worried about the possibility of US-Russian rapprochement after Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed hopes that they could work in that direction.