'Trump will have opportunity to construct new multipolar system’
Austria’s minister of foreign affairs, Sebastian Kurz, has called for easing sanctions on Russia and a move away from the use of such punitive measures.
In his interview with Der Spiegel, he said: “We need to build trust in Europe again and move away from a system of punishment to a system of incentive.”
Meanwhile, similar comments have been heard in Italy. The country’s previous administration headed by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi had already been trying to block the automatic extension of sanctions.
RT: Might Italy be able to influence the rest of the group’s members to change their attitudes towards Russia?
Tiberio Graziani: I don’t think that Italy will influence the rest of the G7 members. At this stage, Italy is too much [weaker] in the comparison to the other G7 members – especially if we compare Italy to Germany and to the USA. Anyway, Italy can, and I hope so, pose the question how to improve the relations among the G7 member countries in view of finding a more balanced relation in order to overcome the following global crises: the economic one, the Syria war, and finally the war on terrorism.
RT: In October, the European Union failed to impose additional measures on Moscow due to firm opposition from Italy. Could that have been the start of a sea change? Is the current government working on it as well?
TG: Yes, [Paolo] Gentiloni and the Italian government is trying to change the relation between the Western countries and the Russian Federation. We have to be optimistic in this situation.
Yes, I am optimistic in this way, because there is several months now. I suppose that the relation will be improved only if the new [Trump] administration will reach a more balanced relation with the Russian Federation. In this case, Washington could influence the European Union’s diplomacy towards Moscow.
RT: The EU has openly admitted that it maintains sanctions because the US says so. Can we expect to see the EU becoming more independent any time soon?
TG: The relation between the US and the EU are unbalanced. On March 25, we’ll celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. It might be a good day and a symbolic date to demonstrate that Europe is truly independent from the US. But we have to consider that the relation between the US and the EU is very, very tight, because of the question of NATO. NATO is the hegemonic alliance, as we know.
RT: Can we expect to see the situation concerning sanctions against Russia change much this year? By the time of the first G7 meeting in May, Trump will have been in power for several months already, and France will have a new president.
TG: It’s very problematic, because as we know Mr. Trump has to balance several oppositions inside the administration in the Congress particularly. There is a strong presence of the Democrats. So, he has to balance this strong force and also to counter-balance the lobbies related to the Clinton and Obama administration.
Trump has an opportunity to effectively make a change – not only for the US and the Russian Federation – but also for the construction of a new multipolar system.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.