Changes in the European Commission (EC) leadership in 2004 caused Russia to "look for other routes for energy supplies" and begin discussions with China, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Friday. Referring to when former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Barroso became EC president, Shuvalov said the notion of a "greater Europe as a kind of Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok" once put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin became impossible due to the "total change" in the EC's rhetoric. Up until the change in EC leadership, Russia wanted to create "a common economic space, a common humanitarian space which would mean that Russia would become an integral part of this big family and that a greater Europe would emerge," he added. According to Shuvalov, this was foiled due to the EC's apparent view that "Europe must not be too dependent on Russia." This was evident in several spheres including the energy and security sectors, the first deputy prime minister stated.
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