The EU leaders at the summit in Brussels have instructed the EU foreign policy agency headed by top diplomat Josep Borrell to explore possible options for dialogue with Russia on certain topics of interest for the EU as well as more sanctions, including economic ones, to counter future activities of Russia deemed harmful by the union, the leaders said in a statement adopted on the first day of the EU summit on Friday.
The EU heads did not manage to reach an agreement on the initiative proposed by Berlin and Paris to hold a highest-level meeting with Russia and it is not mentioned in the document, TASS reports.
"The European Council stresses the need for a firm and coordinated response by the EU and its Member States to any further malign, illegal and disruptive activity by Russia, making full use of all instruments at the EU’s disposal, and ensuring coordination with partners. To this end, the European Council also invites the Commission and the High Representative to present options for additional restrictive measures, including economic sanctions," the document reads.
"The European Council reiterates the European Union’s openness to a selective engagement with Russia in areas of EU interest. It invites the Commission and the High Representative to develop concrete options including conditionalities and leverages in this regard, with a view to their consideration by the Council, on topics such as climate and the environment, health, as well as selected issues of foreign and security policy and multilateral issues such as the JCPoA, Syria and Libya. In this context, the European Council will explore formats and conditionalities of dialogue with Russia," the document adds.
The EU leaders also reiterated their call on Russia to implement the Minsk Agreements and expressed readiness to provide support for "Russian civil society, human rights.