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Russia is looking forward for expert-level consultations with the European Union on a wide range of issues, from combating drug trafficking to EU enlargement, Permanent Representative of Russia to the EU Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov said in an interview with Euractiv

Asked whether Russia has now a say in EU enlargement, Chizhov said: “Of course, we are interested.”

“Many of the countries aspiring to join the EU (although EU enlargement is not one of the top priorities these days), be it in the Western Balkans or even Turkey, they are well-known and well-established trade and economic partners of the Russian Federation, so we are closely following what is happening,” Ambassador said.

He added that they are also monitoring the events over the upcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels, because “as we said when the Eastern Partnership first appeared in 2009, Russia doesn’t consider itself to be either a subject or an object of that policy.”

“But of course, having in mind that all focus countries of the Eastern Partnership are our neighbours, and that we have multiple ties with all of them, some of them are members of the Eurasian economic union [Belarus, Armenia], and of course as such they have taken upon themselves certain obligations, so whatever they do with the EU should not infringe on those obligations. Having said that, I need to stress that we have nothing against any of these countries, or other countries, establishing and promoting good relations with the EU. We have nothing against enlargement of the EU, as different from NATO enlargement of course,” he said.

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