European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says there is no security agenda for Europe without Russia, as the latter is a major player.
"We need to re-establish contact with Russia," Juncker said in an interview with Dutch outlet Trouw on Saturday, April 28, POLITICO's Europe Edition said. "Russia is a major player. There is no security agenda for Europe without Russia. I don't like the current Cold War rhetoric."
"We must learn to talk to Russians on an equal footing, at eye level," he added.
Juncker also warned that Europe's power on the world stage is shrinking as other major power players grow.
"We Europeans sometimes think that we are the boss of the world. We forget that we are a small and weak part of the universe. We are losing economic power," he said. "We are slowly but surely falling from 25 percent of global gross national income to 18-16 percent."
"We are on the losing side also demographically," he said, adding: "We exist culturally, but we are not dominant. So I always invite everyone here to a more pronounced modesty. We must indeed listen to the rest of the world."
"My friend Vladimir Putin — because we have been friends for years, even though nowadays you cannot say that Putin is your friend — was at the time very unpleasantly affected by that one sentence of President Obama when he said [in 2014 in The Hague] that Russia is only a regional power," Juncker said.