Russian foreign minister says European project failing to provide security and prosperity for continent, while EU wastes its energies on confronting Russia to please Washington.
“A unified Europe still hasn’t been built,” Sergey Lavrov said in his keynote address at the Munich Security Conference. “Everyday issues – from eradicating terrorism, to providing steady economic growth have not been addressed with adequate solutions.”
Instead, the Russian diplomat said that Europe has been happy to play “follower” to Washington’s “leader” all while pursuing a “NATO-centric” foreign policy.
“While Europeans have let themselves be dragged into a pointless standoff with Russia, losing billions on sanctions imposed on them from across the Atlantic, the world has continued changing,” said Lavrov, in reference to the measures applied to Russia over Crimea and Ukraine since 2014.
In order to stop from falling behind, “the European house needs a major renovation,” insisted Lavrov.
“In a practical sense the EU has lost its monopoly on the regional integration agenda. The balance of power across the region is changing, primarily due to the rising powers in the Asia Pacific,” Lavrov warned.
Lavrov said that as part of this new configuration, which includes China’s One Belt-One Road project, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a notable role is being played by the Eurasian Economic Union, which has strengthened ties between five former Soviet republics, including Russia.
But Lavrov insisted that “despite widespread speculation” among Western politicians and media outlets, Moscow is not interested in undermining the European Union.
“We are interested in a strong, independent, and open European Union,” adding that EU’s striving for independence in the sphere of defence in the form of an EU army, is a “natural and positive development for the strengthening of a multipolar world.”
“To what extent Europe will be allowed to achieve its aims, is another question,” Lavrov added.