Sanctions or benefits?

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that EU countries are considering sanctions, as well as other measures that will be discussed on September 1 at an emergency EU summit on the situation in Georgia, as well as EU-Russian relations. There are serious disagreements within the European Union over the question of what position Brussels should take regarding Russia.

The Baltic countries and Poland take an openly anti-Russian position and demand that participants in the upcoming summit adopt a package of sanctions against Russia. These countries require tightening the rules for issuing EU visas to Russian citizens, as well as freezing negotiations between Brussels and Moscow on the conclusion of a new framework agreement.

However, another group of EU countries, including France and Germany, oppose steps that could lead to a sharp cooling of EU relations with Russia. At the same time, he draws attention to the ambiguous position of the French Foreign Minister. As early as Monday, Bernard Kouchner said that the issue of sanctions was not being considered and that it was necessary to act by political methods, as required by the moment. However, only three days later, the same Mr. Kouchner suddenly declares that the EU countries are considering sanctions, as well as other measures. If this is not a reservation, then we are talking about the fact that Paris can at the very last moment play along with Poland and the Baltic countries that want to inject Russia more painfully.

The foreign ministers of Russia and France exchanged harsh statements. Sergei Lavrov, in an interview with reporters, said that he was the first to hear about the introduction of EU sanctions against Russia. The Russian Foreign Minister noted that he was familiar with Kushner, who, in his words, “said a lot more.” “In addition to sanctions, he (Kushner) also said that we would attack Ukraine, Moldova and the Crimea. This is a sore imagination,” emphasized Lavrov.

A few hours after this statement by Sergey Lavrov, the French minister on the air of Europe-1 radio said: “France has no ill imagination. France was at the scene of events in Georgia and Russia, where she performed her work as the EU president. We do not want to interrupt the dialogue with Russia, not at all, and France does not propose the imposition of sanctions, “Bernard Kouchner explained. At the same time, he added: “These Russians are a little nervous lately.”

Vladislav Belov believes that “these contradictory and emotional statements of Mr. Kouchner indicate that his radical position is different from the moderate and balanced policy of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.” “And according to the constitution of the Fifth Republic, when conducting the country’s foreign policy, the last word rests with the owner of the Champs Elysees,” said Vladislav Belov, expressing the hope that at the EU summit, the French president would oppose the idea of ​​imposing sanctions against Russia.

As for the other “heavyweight” within the EU – Germany, the position of its Chancellor Angela Merkel is also regarded as ambiguous. On the one hand, she calls for Russia’s interests to be taken into account and not to confront Moscow. On the other hand, immediately after a recent meeting with Russian President Angela Merkel unexpectedly stated: “Ukraine and Georgia will be members of NATO. That was my position and the position of other countries participating in the alliance.”

“The German Chancellor makes such a statement despite the fact that the Russian leadership has repeatedly stated that the entry of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO threatens Russia’s national interests,” Vladislav Belov emphasized.

At the same time, Angela Merkel recently said that the current crisis in relations between the EU and Russia should not adversely affect the implementation of the Nord Stream project, which provides for the construction of a gas pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. “Germany is in favor of continuing cooperation with Russia in the implementation of the project,” said Vladislav Belov, head of the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe at the Russian Academy of Sciences. “This is easily explained by the fact that the German side owns 40% of the shares in this project. At the same time, Estonia and Finland continue to block the implementation of this critical energy project. “

“France itself does not propose the imposition of sanctions, but only develops a single position with other EU members. If the EU decides on sanctions against Russia, then such a move would harm the interests of the European countries themselves,” said the head of the Institute for German Studies Center European fascist RAS Vladislav Belov.

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