The influence of the pandemic on relations between Russia and the EU

The crisis associated with the pandemic coronavirus, most likely, will not be able to bring closer the positions of Russia and the EU and to improve their relationship. Scenario of the dialogue was presented by the General Director of the Russian international Affairs Council (RIAC) Andrei Kortunov on the website of the “Moscow Carnegie center”.

The analyst notes that it is clear that Moscow and Brussels will emerge from the current crisis is significantly weaker in relation to other players in world politics. Prior to that, the weak point of Russia was considered a stagnant economy: its leadership refused to run the new mechanisms of development instead of obtaining the resource rent. The weakness of the European Union was the decline of the old party-political system in its leading countries. Kortunov said that the deficit of leadership have solved the problem of the unity of Europe.

The situation has been exacerbated by a pandemic coronavirus, where the EU and Russia were among the victims. The author underlines that Europe is the global center of the pandemic, and Russia, in addition to combating COVID-19 have to respond to unexpected and sudden collapse of oil prices.

Fyodor Lukyanov concludes that at the moment nothing suggests that relations between the EU and Moscow will be significantly changed — both sides are not going to look for new approaches. The author does not believe in the easing of sanctions (at the same time not excluding new American sanctions) and drew attention to a new round of the information struggle.

The small chance for rapprochement Kortunov sees the reluctance of the EU and Russia to agree to a rapid restructuring of international relations in a rigid bipolar U.S.-Chinese system. It is possible to prevent, if use the traditional themes for cooperation, for example, the dialogue between the EU and the Eurasian economic Union, development of 5G technologies and the struggle for the preservation of the Iranian nuclear deal.

Earlier, a group of MEPs sent a letter to the European Commission with a demand not to allow the abolition of sanctions against Russia “under the pretext of fighting a pandemic coronavirus”. As noted by the representative of the European Commission Peter Stano, commenting on the demands of the deputies, the leadership of the EU sees no problems in maintaining sanctions against Russia because they “do not undermine the ability of RF to deal with the coronavirus”. Before that, in the European Parliament, called the attempt to remove the sanctions, the Russian aid, Italy.