Will Europe dare to shake Putin’s hand?
The President of Russia before his visit to Rome declared his readiness to fully restore relations with the EU, but judging by who will lead the community, Putin will have no one to shake hands with
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published today with the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera about Moscow’s interest in the full restoration of relations with the European Union and readiness to cooperate with the new leadership of the community.
We are interested in restoring full-scale relations between Russia and the EU, in maintaining peace, security and stability on our common continent. And we are ready for constructive relations with all political forces that have received a mandate from European voters,
– stressed Putin, who arrived today on an official one-day visit to Italy for the development of bilateral relations. This is the first visit of the Russian President, who, as we see, words do not differ from deeds, in 2019 to the EU member state.
Pointing to the need to abandon the «block logic» and concepts of the cold war, noting the falseness of the arguments about the «ubiquitous Russian intervention», President Putin reiterated:
We are always open to working together with our Western partners to confront real challenges and threats to security, including international terrorism, drug trafficking and cybercrime.
This statement by Putin directly indicates that Russia is really ready to fully cooperate with the EU, especially in the economic sphere, leaving behind mutual sanctions restrictions.
This is also due to the choice of the country where the Russian President arrived on a visit. Despite the sanctions and prohibitions of the EU, trade between Russia and Italy amounted to almost 27 billion euros in 2018. There are about 500 Italian companies operating in Russia. And Italy is the second – after Germany – buyer of Russian gas.
Will they shake Putin’s hand?
Von der Leyen always supported and voiced any NATO story about Russia, frightened by the Russian military threat, demanded that Moscow «return» Crimea, supported accusations of cyber attacks, advocated the preservation and tightening of sanctions. Sometimes Chancellor Angela Merkel even had to rebuke von der Leyen for overly aggressive behavior, such as the willingness to allocate a German warship to participate in the failed at the last moment of the us-Ukrainian provocation in the Kerch Strait.
It is obvious that from this Pro-American activities, negative attitude to Russia also for ideological and, perhaps, family reasons, Moscow cannot expect anything good, especially when it is released from the care of retiring Merkel.
The new EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and security policy, Spanish socialist Borrel, who holds the post of Foreign Minister of Spain, recently called Russia, causing an international scandal, the «old enemy» of Europe. This 72-year-old politician is a fully formed personality, so Moscow can hardly expect even a gradual evolution of this figure and that he will one day love Russia.
The new leader of the Strasbourg talk shop, which, however, plays a growing role in European Affairs and partly forms the image of Russia in the EU, Italian Sassoli was not seen in anti-Russian statements, but probably only because of his caution. This socialist is an opponent of «Putin’s friends» in Italian politics, first of all, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini («League»). He hates «nationalism», which in the eyes of the European left and liberals today is strongly associated with Russia.Sassoli has already said that he sees no prerequisites for changing the EU’s sanctions policy towards Russia.
Like all leftists, ideology certainly plays a leading role here. Such figures are little concerned that Europeans have lost since 2014 on anti-Russian sanctions, according to Putin’s recently announced estimates, 240 billion dollars that the EU countries are losing the Russian market, reducing jobs. The main thing for them is that our country has also lost 50 billion.
This means that if Russia does not capitulate to the demands of the West to «return» Crimea and give to Kiev the insurgent Donbass, the European sanctions against it will continue to be extended unanimously and automatically.
It is therefore not surprising that the head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Konstantin Kosachev is not at all delighted with these new faces in European politics and reassures himself only by the fact that they have not yet been approved by the European Parliament.
The new leadership of the European Union is absolutely unable and, as we see, has no motivation to overcome the trend of deterioration of EU relations with Moscow. It arose when Russia, having lost its outskirts, retained the bulk of its territory in 1991 and, already divided by the West into zones of influence, did not collapse in 1993 due to the opposition of the Parliament and the government.What hinders good relations between the EU and Russia?
Taking advantage of the weakness of Yeltsin Russia, the European Union supported NATO’s expansion to the East. The EU has adopted in its ranks is absolutely not ready to that the Baltic States, century is a part of Russia. European politicians condoned Georgia in a bloody attack on South Ossetia, testing Moscow’s strength. The EU in tandem with the United States participated in the coup used against Russia in Ukraine, the then leader of which Viktor Yanukovych was removed for refusing to integrate on bonded terms. The EU without hesitation imposed tough sanctions against Russia for its minimal reaction to the tragic events in the neighboring country, causing it enormous economic and political damage.
The policy of increasing EU military spending under hostile rhetoric against Russia . The friendly support of Brussels and most European capitals for global anti-Russian provocations such as the destruction of the Malaysian Boeing over the Donbass and the «case of the Squeaks». «Sweep» methods of intelligence Pro-Russian politicians in European countries, which showed, in particular, recent events in Austria. Constant accusations of Moscow in «cyber attacks,» interventions in elections in all countries. The invention in the EU and the US «technology» write-off on Russia all their mistakes and failures, which are served as Russian «misinformation.» All this is terribly hinders the development of relations between Russia and the EU, but will continue to be implemented by the West. While there is still hope to change the policy of Russia to force Moscow to surrender.
It will be extremely difficult to reverse this avalanche, it will take a long time, and the current EU leadership will clearly not be able to do it. Not only has the newly completed Thriller with the replacement of the main vacancies in the EU shown, there is also a tendency to negotiate between quarreling with each other European groups at the expense of Russia.
All this suggests that there is no one in Europe today to shake Putin’s outstretched hand.