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Charles Michel: “Dialogue with Moscow is needed’

Prime minister Charles Michel on Monday arrived in Russia for an official visit. He will speak with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Michel argues that a dialogue with Moscow is necessary to the strategic interests of Belgium and the European Union to defend, particularly in the area of economy and security.

The relationship between Europe and Russia, the recent years bad. The voltages went to a climax after the deposition of the Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine, which the European Union prompted to heavy economic sanctions against Russia to enact. Moscow responded with its own sanctions, in particular against European agricultural products.

Nevertheless underlines Michel, that the important channels of communication between Moscow and Brussels, to keep it open. “I can imagine that Russia has a few things to say to the Europeans. I’m going to listen to these messages and also some to transfer. In international relationships it is a bit like in a neighborhood. If you are not good matches with the neighbors, when there is misunderstanding, then you will pay there, sooner or later the price for it.”

According to Michel the dialogue with Russia is also seen to be in the best interest of the citizens. ‘Russia, for example, plays a role in the south of Europe, in Syria and Libya and we have every interest in keeping with Moscow about those things to talk to see if we together these regions can stabilize. Those conflicts have large consequences for Europe. They make for great migration’, underlined the prime minister.

Michel will meet Tuesday, prime minister Dmitri Medvedev. Wednesday he has an appointment with president Putin.

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