FT video on Russia’s new leadership

13May08

In this FT video, Wolfgang Ischinger discusses the new enlargement in relation to Russia’s new leadership. He asserts that the EU enlargement needs time. It is noteworthy that the increase in size has improved the quality of the debate and of the decisions. The citizens need time to acknowledge the possibility of new entrants, always stressing the importance of the fulfillment of EU acceptance conditions.

In terms of foreign relations, EU cooperation with Russia is vital. The importance of working to manage and improve relations with Russia should be acknowledged. Of course the countries that used to be part of Russia, cannot be told to just be nice with Russia. From Germany’s point of view, Russia is seen as a key partner, even if there still are serious issues. Energy dependence is not without problems. Russia wants to be seen as a major player.

There is definitely needed a clearly defined EU policy on energy. Regarding the NATO enlargement, the question whether to include Ukraine and Georgia, might lead to a view of “alienating Russia”. But could we lose Russia? The benefits of an enlarged NATO could be offset by a dramatic deterioration of relations with Russia. But we should be capable to achieve both. To give the countries the opportunity to become members of NATO and at the same time to give Russia the assurance that this is not an anti-Russian manoever.

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