Russia is “no longer a strategic partner” and currently “there’s no longer” a partnership between the European Union and the Federation. Federica Mogherini slammed the door to Russia, signalling the international isolation of the country led by Vladimir Putin. During her first interview at the European Parliament since her appointment as next High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Italian Foreign Minister was lapidary saying that what happened came entirely from Russian actions. “There’s no longer a strategic partnership, due to the choices made by Moscow and the consequences of what happened on the ground. This is the picture we have currently.”
Mogherini talked at the Foreign Affairs Committee as Italian Foreign Minister, explaining the program of the Italian Semester. Dealing with this, she said “if I were to modify anything in the Italian Presidency program for the Semester, it would be the first line of the paragraph dedicated to Russia: Russiais stills political actor for global challenges, but it is no longer a strategic partner.” Moreover, it could be targeted by further sanctions. Mogherini confirmed that at European level they are already being studied. “The Commission will present its proposal to Coreper and a decision will be taken within Friday.”
The “main challenge” is for sure Ukraine, maybe because it is the most delicate one. But the Italian agenda – hence Mogherini’s agenda – includes Iraq and Syria too. “The core of the issues finding a regional solution” for fighting ISIS extremists.
“We need to build a regional conversation allowing all actors involved to face the challenge represented by ISIS together,” even actors “which aren’t usually ready to talk to each other.” With the Islamic militia “no political dialogue is possible” though.
Dealing with immigration, Mogherini reiterated what the Italian Interior Minister had said several times: “The Italian Presidency aims to making everyone understand that immigration affects not only Italy or the south of Europe, but each Member State.”
Another Italian priority is the enlargment of the EU. No new Member States, not yet at least, but the key will. Be the relaunch of regional strategies. “Italy has always been in favour of the enlargment of the Union,” said Mogherini, “And we think that the tool of enlargment would be useful at regional level too.” This is why up to the end of December “we will support the Partnership Agreement between the EU and Moldova, but also with Georgia and Ukraine.” Dealing with Turkey, this is “one of the countries where the process of political reforms could be reinforced by the negotiation process, and I think this transition process could be realised with the new government of Ankara.” Dealing with Bosnia and Herzegovina, “everything is up to the forthcoming elections,” but according to the Foreign Minister there’s no doubt that “this is the opportunity the country has for presenting a credible candidacy.” Last, FYROM: the dossier was blocked by the Greek opposition on the name of the candidate country: “We need political will” for proceeding with the negotiation, said Mogherini with an implicit hint for the Greek government.