EU on brink: Failure to unite against Russia threat leaves bloc vulnerable ‘a big mistake’

Russia: EU need ‘united stance against policy’ says expert

The Vice President of the Civil Development Forum, Marek Tatala hit out at the European Union for being unable to agree on a common policy to defend the bloc from Russian aggression. He argued that failure to unite around the condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s human rights violations had left the EU vulnerable. The political analyst called Russia “a threat for the entire European Union” but blamed a lack of unity on “various conflicting interests” within the bloc over how to deal with Putin. 

Mr Tatala, who is based in Poland, told “In contrast to Germany, which I would say is the friendly ally, we also have Russia on our borders.

“This is a threat to Poland but also to the whole European Union, moreover we see a lot of violations of human rights, democracy and so on in Russia.

“I think there should be a strong common position from the European Union against this authoritarian and il-liberal approach of Vladimir Putin towards his own society.”

The expert said he believes the EU had failed to agree on a common approach to Russia due to competing geopolitical interests between different members states, particularly Germany. 

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“Of course there are various interests that are in conflict inside the European Union so this common position is not as strong as I think it should be,” said Mr Tatala.

“To some extent, it is based on domestic interests or policies in Germany but we also see this pro-Putin or pro-Russian friendly approaches in some other member states,

“Including in Hungary where Prime Minister Viktor Orban is meeting on a regular basis with Vladimir Putin and some other officials from Russia. 

Mr Tatala added: “So, of course, it would be good to see more united voice of the EU leaders against Russian policies.

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“Including the most recent case of the arrest of Navalny the opposition leader there.”

His remarks come as a fresh split emerged as European leaders struggled to agree on joint action in response to Alexei Navalny’s arrest. 

On Thursday, French MEP Thierry Mariani blasted colleagues in Brussels who supported renewed sanctions on Russia as he claimed: “Moscow poses no danger.”

He accused the Commission of “inventing ghosts” when it came to the threat from Moscow, saying: “Who really believes that Moscow is a danger to Paris, Rome or Berlin? In order not to see that Europe’s influence is diminishing, the Commission is inventing ghosts.

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Mr Mariani added: “Out of blindness, the EU, therefore, insists on supporting any possible opposition to Putin.”

A senior European Union official told Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone on Friday to release opposition politician Alexei Navalny and demanded an investigation into the Kremlin critic’s poisoning last August.

Navalny was detained in Russia on Sunday after flying home from Germany for the first time since being poisoned with what tests conducted at a German military laboratory showed was a military-grade nerve agent.

The Russian opposition figure says Putin was behind his poisoning last August, a version of events that the Kremlin rejects.

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