New kids on the bloc better listen – EU
Western European politicians aren’t showing their support for the Lithuanian and Polish initiative to postpone the issue of EU-Russia relations until the EU December summit.
Sarkozy stated that Russia, following the armed conflict in South Ossetia, has fulfilled the four commitments imposed on it by EU nations. He also stressed Europe should have one unified stance towards Russia even if some of the member-states dislike it.
The President of the European Commission has backed the statement.
“My message to Poland and Lithuania is that it’s better for you to be with all of the member-states in expressing a single view rather than having different views towards Russia,” Barroso said.
The situation seems to have changed drastically over the past two weeks, as the UK had abandoned the earlier demand to freeze EU-Russia relations and voiced the readiness for a new page in that relationship. The Czech Republic, Sweden, Estonia and Latvia sided with the UK.
Only Lithuania and Poland adhered to the position voiced upon the beginning of August hostilities in Georgia. However, the UK refused to sign that document. In fact, the EU does not need authorisation from other EU agencies for resuming negotiations on a new strategic partnership agreement with Russia, as French representative Christine Roget told a Friday press briefing before the EU informal summit.
In her words, the European Commission will make the decision in line with the resolution of the EU special summit held in September.
Earlier in the week the European Commission revealed a 16-page confidential document on relations with Russia. It said that cooling in EU-Russia relations did not meet the interests of Europe. The European Commission believes that the negotiations on a new strategic partnership agreement should be resumed at the EU-Russia summit in Nice on November 14.