The EU chief says Europe can no longer afford to have a policy dictated by the United States.
In a huge reversal, the EU says it desires a normal relationship with Russia. It seems that the EU is being greatly affected by the actions of Vladimir Putin in Syria: suddenly the EU President Jean-Claude Junker is saying that the EU must not let the US dictate their relationship with Russia. He has demanded a normalization of relations – and indirectly, the end of sanctions.
The EU Commission President advocated a relaxation in the conflict with Russia. “We have to achieve a sustainable relationship with Russia. It’s not sexy, but has to be done. We can’t go on like this anymore“, he said on Thursday in Passau. It isn’t necessary to achieve overall understanding, but a sensible conversational basis. “The Russians are a proud people”, the country has “a role to play”, said Junker: “One must not remove them from the bigger picture, otherwise they’ll call again, very quickly, as we seen already.” He criticized US President Barack Obama, for having downgraded Russia as “regional power”. “Russia needs to be treated correctly,” the Luxemburgian explained. “We can not have our relationship towards Russia dictated by Washington. It’s simply not on.”
This statement is particularly noteworthy. Until now, the EU always placed emphasis on having complete accord with the Americans, with the placement of the Russian sanctions. Some time ago, the US Vice President Joe Biden made it clear that the US had urged the EU to impose the sanctions. Junker’s big back flip is confirming the statement made by Biden. It’s hard to discern what’s really going on Junker’s mind: as late as March, Junker was demanding the establishment of a EU army, which was expressly directed against Russia: such a European army would “give Russia the impression, that we are seriously intending to defend European Union’s values,” Junker said word for word, back then.
This article originally appeared at German Economic News. Translated from the German by Boris Jaruselski