ZAGREB, November 12, 2019 – Croatia’s presidency over the European Union in the first half of 2020 can facilitate efforts to upgrade relations and dialogue between the EU and Russia, Russian Ambassador to Zagreb Anvar Azimov said on Tuesday.
Addressing a conference on gas as the future of energy, the ambassador said that both Europe and Russia suffered losses due to sanctions imposed on Moscow over the issue of Crimea.
Therefore, Azimov proposed that during its EU chairmanship Croatia should organise an energy conference bringing together European and Russian experts, and described such an event as the start of dialogue between the two sides.
Croatia can thus be a bond reconnecting the two sides, said Azimov at the conference, organised by the Zagreb-based Večernji List daily newspaper.
He said that losses suffered by EU member-states due to sanctions against Russia totalled 200 billion euros annually.
For more than 60 years, Russia has been a guarantor of provision of energy supplies to Europe, he said.
Azimov underlined that Russia annually delivers two billion cubic metres of gas to Croatia at a favourable price and that supplies to European buyers exceeded 210 million cubic metres annually.
The Russian ambassador claimed that the United States strongly lobbied for as little Russian gas as possible in Europe.
He added that although it was a disciplined member of the European Union, Croatia should also take care of its own interests.
Azimov also said that Russia had never used gas provision as a political instrument to exert pressure against any country.
More news about relations between Croatia and Russia can be found in the Politics section.