Talks over a new EU-Russia agreement have been deadlocked for months because of several EU members’ various objections. Most recently, Lithuania has been the one which has hampered new negotiations. The former agreement between the parts originally expired last year.
“We have reached a good agreement, which respects the needs of Lithuania while also taking into account the interests of the EU as a whole.” This is how, in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on 11 May, the President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitrij Rupel, described the consensus reached by the EU Council Presidency, the European Commission and Lithuania on a mandate for the European Commission to start negotiations on a new partnership and cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation.
The Slovenian Presidency will submit the agreement to the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council for approval at its next meeting.
The mandate is clear. Now it is only the negotiations with the Russians remaining. That might turn out to be no easier job.