‘Greece-EU clash over anti-Russia statement: others may follow Athens’ suit’

Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis
Greece’s discontent with the EU over an anti-Russian statement may give new momentum to other European countries, and make it easier for them to have courage to say “no” to Brussels dictate, foreign affairs analyst Srdja Trifkovic told RT.

READ MORE: New Greek govt furious over EU 'unequivocal' anti-Russia statement

RT:How come the EU issued this strong statement without the consent of all the members?

Srdja Trifkovic: Because it is very difficult in the EU to be the first country to break ranks. Now that the Greeks have made the move I confidently expect that, the Hungarians in particular, but perhaps also Slovakia and Cyprus, will find it easier to have courage and say “no” to the dictate from Brussels. I believe that the move such as announced by the government in Athens today can have momentum. Once you have the first voice countering the dictates and ‘faits accomplis’ from Brussels then maybe some other countries will follow suit. In particular Budapest, Bratislava and Nicosia are to be watched in this respect.

RT:Is this the first time the Council of the EU has issued a statement like this without seeking consent?

ST: To my knowledge this is the first such occasion. It reflects above all the ideological commitment of the Polish President of the EU, Donald Tusk, who has been well known during the 7 years of his prime ministership of Poland as an enemy of Russia, to impose these sanctions against [Russia]… Obviously in order to do so because of his deep commitment he is prepared to cut corners. But I believe that Greeks and maybe some others will call him to task for that.

Reuters / Yannis Behrakis

RT:Is this the beginning of strained relations between Greece and the rest of the EU?

ST: The real test will come on Thursday when several countries, including the UK in particular, will be asking for additional sanctions against Russia in the wake of the Mariupol deaths. If the Greeks decidedly act against this then it will herald a crisis, because in March there will be a need for unanimity when the first package of sanctions against Russia comes up for renewal, and then in June and July - the second package. Without the Greeks they simply cannot be renewed because all 28 [EU countries] have to be in favor. Donald Tusk will not be able to pretend that unanimity does exist when it doesn’t.

RT:Some sources suggest that Greece has even tried to remove a line which blames Russia for the Mariupol shelling. Does Moscow have a new friend in Europe?

ST: Moscow has quite a few friends in Europe. One of them is the Prime Minister of Hungary, [Viktor] Orban. Also there are many other parties all over Europe that are aware that the policy of sanctions is harming Europe more than it’s harming Russia, and that it’s only serving the interests of the US and its fellow travelers within the EU. The task for Russia is to apply its soft power skillfully and in a carefully measured way, because I believe that both on the left and on the right of the political spectrum in Europe it has actual and potential friends - in particular on the left as we’ve seen now with Greece, and on the right with the Front National in France and with the Freedom Party in Austria, and in various other places. So far Europe has been governed for too long with central-left and central-right parties, such as the German Social Democrats and Christian Democrats, who do not offer anything substantially new. With these new parties both on the left and on the right I believe that the attitude to Russia will be changed.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.