Ties with Russia

How does the RCC view Russia’s role in the Balkan region, and the choice of some members to deal with it in economic and political terms? It is said that the Balkans will be the new bone of contention between the USA and Russia. What is your opinion? Russia is today a strong partner of the EU. Today is a rare moment in modern European history as relations between Russia and key European countries are better than ever. Russia and the EU have developed a network of cooperation in all key areas, from economy to science and from security to energy. At the same time, Russia and NATO have also developed a permanent dialogue. Yes, I do recognize the traces or re-emergence of some of the old-type rhetoric or competitive positions. But I would attribute it more to the general shaping of the world order or to immediate domestic considerations, including elections, rather than to the true rebirth of the confrontational concept of international relations. In view of this, we in the Balkans should certainly not invite any divisions. As I said, history teaches us that the Balkans is always the greatest victim of divisions in Europe. So, what we need is to encourage a constructive approach and the engagement of all, including Russia. You have extensive diplomatic experience. How do you see the future of the Balkans? Is the region ready to fully assume the responsibility of governance? My answer is simple and clear – in order to create a better tomorrow, one needs to look decades ahead. The final picture must be a guiding line for tomorrow’s actions. And what final picture does any reasonable citizen in Southeastern Europe want to see? This is not difficult to answer – a picture of a peaceful environment, with security and stability, without fears, frustrations and distrustful societies; a picture of a truly European area where people will live by the same standards as anywhere else in Europe, because they deserve it and because this is the only future for the coming generations.

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