Russia spars with EU and US at meeting on EU-UN cooperation

Josep Borrell Fontelles vice president of the European Commission in charge of coordinating the external action of the European Union, delivers his speech about the Systematic repression in Belarus and its consequences for European security following abductions from an EU civilian plane intercepted by Belarusian authorities. Strasbourg eastern France, Tuesday 8 june , 2021. (Jean-Franois Badias / Pool via AP)
Josep Borrell Fontelles vice president of the European Commission in charge of coordinating the external action of the European Union, delivers his speech about the Systematic repression in Belarus and its consequences for European security following abductions from an EU civilian plane intercepted by Belarusian authorities. Strasbourg eastern France, Tuesday 8 june , 2021. (Jean-Franois Badias / Pool via AP) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

CAMEROON – Russia sparred with the European Union and the United States at a U.N. meeting Thursday that highlighted the strained relations between Moscow, Brussels and Washington.

Estonia, which holds the Security Council presidency this month, organized the meeting to focus on cooperation between the United Nations and the 27-nation European Union, inviting its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to speak about the relationship and challenges to peace and security.

The council meeting came just ahead of this weekend’s summit of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations — which Russia was ousted from in 2014 — and next week’s first meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, which comes as relations between Washington and Moscow have sunk to a post-Cold War low.

Borrell told the council in a virtual address that the COVID-19 pandemic “has underscored the fragility of our hyper-globalized and interdependent world.”

“The demand for multilateral solutions is much greater than the supply,” he said, pointing to “more divisions, more free-riding and more distrust than the world can afford.”

“We need global cooperation based on agreed rules because the alternative is the law of the jungle, where problems don’t get solved,” he said. “Every day we see the cost of the absence of multilateral action in reduced access to vaccines and insufficient climate action, and peace and security crises that fester.”

Borrell blamed “the rise in power politics and ideological contests” that erode trust, stressing the EU’s commitment to the U.N. and to “rules-based multilateralism.” He said there must be pushback against “selective and self-serving approaches to multilateralism.”

Russia’s deputy ambassador Dmitry Polyansky strongly disagreed with Borrell's view of the world.