Midway into her term, Federica Mogherini found herself in Moscow. The high representative had wanted to go to Moscow for some time to establish a dialogue with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
But there had been little enthusiasm for this idea among member states because of frosty relations with Russia and, in particular, Russia’s continued failure to deliver on the Minsk agreements. Scepticism about the high representative going to Moscow stemmed from a fear that such a visit could be interpreted – or spun – as a drive to normalise relations with Russia.
Ultimately, however, the visit only highlighted the minor role played by the high representative in dealing with the conflict in Ukraine. It is true that European Union member states have taken a firm stance against Russia’s action in Ukraine by imposing sanctions and taking other restrictive measures. The European Commission and a few member states have also provided substantial assistance for reform in Ukraine. Germany and France have taken it upon themselves to lead the diplomatic efforts on Ukraine. But the EU as such is not part of the diplomatic negotiations, nor has it used any crisis-management mechanisms to deal with the conflict.
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