It’S Hard For Brussels To Close Putin’S Door

2021-02-06   |   by CusiGO

Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign minister, paid a controversial visit to Russia on Friday, marking the innumerable attempts in Brussels to turn the page on the conflict with Moscow triggered by Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol in 2014. Borrell’s tense meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov comes at a time when Russian cities are suppressing citizens arrested and convicted by opposition opposition Alexei navarni. Nevertheless, the capitals of major European countries believe that it is difficult, but crucial, to reach an understanding with Vladimir Putin’s regime.

The 27 EU partners plan to conduct an in-depth analysis of their relations with Moscow at the European summit in March. Berlin and Paris are firmly seeking coexistence with the Russian president in order to curb the deterioration of bilateral relations and restore the coexistence lost in six years. Antonio L ó PEZ ist ú RIZ, Secretary General of the European people party, stressed: “governments must immediately clarify what kind of relationship we want with Russia and stop hiding behind the Committee.”

When announcing his visit to Moscow last week, Borrell pointed out that this is the first visit to Moscow since 2017. “I don’t agree with the theory that when things go wrong, you should not speak; on the contrary, at this time, dialogue is most needed,” he said European diplomatic representatives are open to dialogue with Putin’s regime, following similar attempts by French President Emmanuel macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The European leader has a more harmonious relationship with the Russian President, even at the height of tensions with the Kremlin.

Berlin, as well as Paris or Madrid, believes that close ties with Moscow are inevitable for geographical, economic, cultural and historical reasons. “Russia will always be there,” a diplomatic source pointed out, referring to the fact that the capital of a country is only more than 1000 kilometers away from the EU border and its cultural capital, St. Petersburg, is less than 200 kilometers away.

Unlike Washington, which regards Russia as a distant adversary and the successor of the enemy before the cold war, Brussels has to deal with an awkward neighbor, which in turn is connected with powerful energy. According to the European Commission, 30 per cent of the EU’s oil imports come from Russia. In the case of natural gas, the figure rose to 42%. For an EU that relies on external energy in 2018, this is a very important figure, equivalent to 58% of its consumption, slightly higher than that in 2000 when Putin came to power.

Since the enlargement of the EU to the former Soviet bloc in 2004, Moscow has not hesitated to use energy as part of its political weapons. The so-called gas wars of 2006 and 2009 highlighted the strength of Gazprom, which shut down some of its gas pipelines in the middle of winter and left most of central and Eastern Europe in trouble.

In 2010, NATO incorporated energy security into its main policy. Two years later, he opened a centre dedicated to the issue in Lithuania, one of Europe’s most threatened partners by the Kremlin. But the concerns of the US and other Atlantic allies about the EU’s energy dependence have been repeatedly ignored by Germany.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schr? Der and Merkel first pushed for the construction of the Baltic gas pipelines (Nord Stream I and II), which, according to Washington, will strengthen Gazprom’s dominance of the German and European energy markets. Berlin, by contrast, insists that they are vital to ensuring supply, and that even the Ukraine war or the Kremlin chemical attack on European land has not changed Merkel’s view.

Since 2017, Emmanuel Malone’s France has also tried to readjust its relations with Moscow to make them more peaceful than in recent years. France places Russia as a European neighbor, bordering on the Maghreb or the Middle East. As Malone said in an interview a few months ago, “it is unsustainable for our international policy to drag down [the United States]”.

An agreement with Putin will help ease the hornet war that often confronts France and Russia, from Libya to Syria. But it will also help to placate European partners who resist the EU’s Strategic Autonomy promoted by makeron, which Poland or the Baltic States interpret as a dangerous breakdown of relations with Washington and the risk of being manipulated by Russia.

Borrell conveyed to Moscow the dialogue proposal put forward by Berlin and Paris. “Our channels of communication must be kept open,” the high representative said in an article published in French newspapers on Sunday about his visit to the country. Russia’s main trading partner and first source of foreign investment.

But Borrell represents an EU that is seriously divided on the way forward. The path of dialogue conflicts with the tough measures demanded by Poland and the Baltic States. Nor does Moscow’s attitude help to consolidate the fragile bridge of understanding. Every moderate reconciliation of the European Union is obstructed by Putin’s regime. Brussels accused Putin’s regime of carrying out chemical weapons attacks on European territory, systematically violating human rights and suppressing the opposition more and more. Borrell himself was warmly welcomed by Lavrov in Moscow. He did not hesitate to accuse Europe of double standards on human rights. The largest people’s group in the European Parliament criticized Borrell’s “complacency” with the Russian regime and called for an immediate review of cooperation projects with Russia and an end to the construction of the Beixi 2 gas pipeline.