Mogherini encourages EU to pay greater attention to the East
By Ana Robakidze
Wednesday, October 8
Federica Mogherini former Italian Foreign Minister, who has been proposed as the EU's high representative for foreign policy and security policy, which would also make her a vice-president of the Commission, says Europe needs to pay greater attention to the Eastern countries. Speaking at her confirmation hearing at the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, on October 6 Mogherini said the EU has to start with supporting security in Ukraine and expand its support to the East in various forms.
“We need to pay greater attention in different forms to the east – starting from support to Ukraine in terms of security, institutional reforms, political process, economic challenges and energy challenges. We will need to support Moldova and Georgia… We will need to work with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus on our way forward,” Mogherini said in his opening remarks during the hearing.
The future EU's high representative for foreign policy believes it is time to reassess relations with Russia. According to Mogherini, Russia might not be an EU partner at the moment, but it still is a strategic country.
“So I guess we will need to deeply reassess our relations (with Russia),” she said
During the hearing, Mogherini was reminded that Russia is trying to re-establish the Soviet sphere of influence in Eastern European countries and was asked how she sees democratic transformation in the Eastern Partnership countries, considering the Moscow factor. Mogherini replied that Russia is simply trying to present the European choice as a bad decision for the people in the Eastern partnership countries. Therefore it is time for the EU to show the actual benefits it can bring to these countries.
“If we manage to show together that the European choice is good for the citizens of these countries – I think of Moldova, where difficult elections are coming now, I think of Georgia, I think obviously of Ukraine – if the European choice is delivering concrete results for the people, that would be an attractive pull factor also for parts of their societies that are probably thinking in a different way today,” Mogherini stated.
Speaking about the ways to stop Russia, the former Italian foreign minister said that EU sanctions have been effective in terms of making the Russian economy suffer, but Europe still has to think whether its sanctions can have any effect on the political decision Moscow makes. Mogherini agrees that the EU may need to work on increasing or even on lifting sanctions against Russia, depending how the situation develops in Ukraine.