The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker wrote a letter to Vladimir Putin, offering closer trade relations between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union in the observance of the truce in Ukraine. Reuters refers to this letter that was written after the G20 Summit in Turkey. In his letter, Junker stressed the importance of stable relations with Moscow, which, unfortunately, have been difficult to maintain over the past year.
According to Junker, he appealed to the European Commission officials to explore opportunities for rapprochement of the European Union with Eurasian Economic Union lead by Russia. “The decision on this depends on EU member states, and it has to be synchronized with the implementation of the Minsk agreements.” Junker wrote.
Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevicius stated that he was surprised by this letter and said that it didn’t set out member states’ positions adequately. He further indicated it did not address the sanctions imposed due to the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine. The spokesman for the European Commission confirmed the letter had been sent to Putin by Junker after they met at the G20 Summit. However, she also stressed that the head of European Commission didn’t make any commitments in this letter.
It is worth noting that Junker’s statements have already caused disputes earlier this year. In particular, he stated that current relations between the EU and the Russian Federation aren’t friendly and spoke in favor of establishing a practical cooperation with Russia. Earlier, media outlets had reported that the EU-Ukraine association agreement would become a subject of EU-EAEU negotiations; however other sources denied that assertion.