Better late than never - Putin made this offer in 2010!
Originally appeared at bne INTELLINEWS
European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker has sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin offering cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), an EC spokesperson told TASS on November 19.
In a first reaction, the Kremlin said the letter connects the cooperation with the implementation of the Minsk agreements on the peace process in Ukraine, which is "hardly possible".
The EC spokesperson told TASS: "Juncker sent a letter to President Putin after a short talk on Monday on the sidelines of the G20 summit." The letter "stresses Juncker's readiness to consider the possibility of cooperation with the EAEU according to established procedure via consultations with member-states and in case Minsk agreements are simultaneously implemented".
In mid-October, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexey Meshkov said the EAEU member-states, namely Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Collegium Viktor Khristenko, had sent a draft agreement on economic cooperation to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
The document concerns issues related with integration of the two entities. According to Meshkov, respective proposals were approved at the meeting of the heads of governments of the EAEU member-states on September 8.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the letter links possible cooperation between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union to the implementation of the Minsk agreements. This link is hardly possible, Peskov said, cited by Interfax.
"Some linkage with the implementation of the Minsk agreements, particularly in the current conditions, when we see that Kyiv is again not ready to implement these agreements, particularly in the way it was agreed at the recent Normandy format [meeting] in Paris, such a linkage is hardly actual and is hardly possible," the press secretary said.
However, Peskov noted that the idea of the dialogue between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union was a long-standing one.
"This is what the Russian side is promoting, because this is needed for establishing our trade and economic relations," he said.