Tusk: ‘It is clear that #Russia strategy is to weaken EU’

| October 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

 donald-tusk-ue“This evening we had a broad discussion about Russia. Leaders emphasized all sorts of Russian activities, from airspace violations, disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks, interference into the political processes in the EU and beyond, hybrid tools in the Balkans, to developments in the MH17 investigation. Given these examples, it is clear that Russia’s strategy is to weaken the EU,” said European Council President Donald Tusk, after the first day of the European Council meeting (20 October).

Tusk has a sober assessment of the reality, and no illusions. “Increasing tensions with Russia is not our aim. We are simply reacting to steps taken by Russia. Of course the EU is always ready to engage in dialogue. But we will never compromise our values or principles. That is why leaders agreed to stay the course. And above all to keep the unity of the EU.”

The president of the European Council also referred to irregular flows on the Central Mediterranean route which remain far too high and haven’t changed for the last two years: “That is why we discussed how to enhance our cooperation with Africa. The High Representative presented her diplomatic efforts with five priority countries, namely Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Ethiopia. The goal is to prevent illegal migration to Italy and to the rest of Europe, and to ensure effective returns of irregular migrants. The High Representative was given our support and will assess progress in December.”

“When it comes to the Eastern Mediterranean route, the situation has improved, with a 98% drop in arrivals since last year”, noted Tusk. That is the reason why leaders discussed getting back to Schengen. “We all agreed that the goal is to lift temporary border controls over time, which will be accompanied by the reinforcement of the external borders”.

Leaders also strongly condemned the attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies on civilians in Aleppo: “The EU is calling for an end to the atrocities and an immediate cessation of hostilities. It will consider all available options, if these atrocities continue”, concluded Donald Tusk in his speech.

 

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Category: A Frontpage, Conflicts, EU, Politics, Russia

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