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8 Dec, 2009 09:04

EU needs mutual trust with Russia – Italian FM

Italy trusts the Russian Federation and its government, but it needs to spread knowledge about Russia to promote confidence and trust, believes Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in an exclusive interview to RT.

Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal about the Treaty on Joint European Security that would make Russia an indivisible part of it is a good one, says Franco Frattini, and it should be discussed with an “open minded approach.”

“I do not consider the proposal or treaty put on the table by the President of Russian Federation as an alternative to NATO, which remains a pillar for Euro-Atlantic security and cooperation,” Frattini noted.

“The EU is a global player,” he added. “How is it possible to forget that its biggest and most important neighbour is the Russian Federation? That is why I am quite optimistic – our discussion will continue in the future.”

Speaking about the possible creation of a joint European army, Franco Frattini said that “If we had a European army instead of having 27 national armies, we would have been better in rapidly responding to the requests of the US and NATO.”

He added that “There is no contradiction. On the contrary, there will be integration between NATO and the future European Army operating with NATO.”

He also said that it is in Russia’s interest to deal with a fully integrated Europe.

Franco Frattini said that the Russian-led gas project South Stream is not an alternative to the Nabucco project.

“We support the South Stream because it will be ready and operational much earlier than Nabucco’s infrastructure, but we are not against it. The problem is who will be providing gas for Nabucco.”

Franco Frattini expressed hope that, probably in 2010, there would be a proposal made by a country like Italy to make a visa-free regime with the Russian Federation. So far, any of the 27 EU members can veto such a proposal, but in the future it will no longer be possible when the matter is submitted to a qualified majority vote.

“I am sure there will be enough of a majority to get a visa-free regime for Russians in 2010,” concluded Italian Foreign Minister.

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