Germany calls for new EU eastern policy

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German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday emphasised the need for a new EU eastern policy outlining directions for EU-Russian cooperation due to the current deadlock in Russian-U.S. relations.

“We need a new eastern policy, a EU eastern policy which will show paths of cooperation with Russia that are in line with the interests of all Europeans due to the dangerous silence between Washington and Moscow.

“It should also form proposals for the Eastern Partnership [EaP] countries, like Georgia and Ukraine, which think and feel the way we Europeans do,’’ Maas said in his speech on the EU development in Berlin.

Maas pointed out that the new eastern policy should take the interests of both Eastern and Western European states into consideration.

“Also to maintain a balance between security interests, economic cooperation, and cultural and scientific cooperation,’’ Maas said.

The EU’s relations with its eastern neighbours are maintained in line with the EaP, which aims to strengthen the bloc’s ties with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

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“Also to increase the stability and resilience of these countries.

Russian-U.S. relations have recently been at what officials from both nations have called the lowest point since the Cold War.

Washington and Moscow have disagreements on a number of issues, including Russia’s support for the Syrian government in the country’s civil war, and U.S. accusations against Russia over its alleged malicious cyberactivities, which Moscow has denied.

Since 2014, the EU has been following the U.S. in the introduction of sanctions against Moscow over its alleged meddling in the Ukrainian crisis, and the reunification of Crimea with Russia.

Moscow has denied the accusations and retaliated by introducing economic restrictions against states that had targeted it with sanctions.