Europe makes one step towards Russia, away from USA

Elections to the governing bodies of the EU finished, and it was the word of German Chancellor Angela Merkel that played the crucial role in the elections. What prompted her to opt for the Polish PM Donald Tusk and Italian FM Federico Mogerini? During the summit, Poroshenko was hysterically lobbying new sanctions against Russia, but his voice was not heard.

The extraordinary EU summit ended on Saturday. The summit was convened after Kiev and then Washington accused Moscow of invading Ukraine, which was actually the offensive of militia forces of New Russia to the south of the Donbass. Absurdity reached its climax when an unnamed NATO officer in Brussels confirmed the information to Reuters. He said that as many as 20,000 Russian troops crossed the Ukrainian border. Then it was President Barack Obama, who took the stage and, wearing the tan suit, said on August 29 that Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine would cost Moscow a hefty price. Noteworthy, the action had been plotted specifically for the summit, as even prior to the statement from the Ukrainian president, it was US Ambassador to Ukraine George Payette, who launched false information at the media.

However, EU leaders, except for President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite, were restrained in their assessments of the "invasion" and decided not to provide "military-technical" support to Ukraine. As for the price, as Obama said Moscow would have to pay, four member countries of the EU - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Cyprus - disagreed with the decision to expand the sanctions. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said: "I reserve the right to veto the sanctions, should they cause damage to national interests of Slovakia," said the Slovak leader.

After the discussion of the Ukrainian crisis, the leaders of 28 countries proceeded to the elections of the administrative board. The appointment of Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Federica Mogerini as the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security appears to be an important move. She will replace Catherine Ashton - the main adviser to Petro Poroshenko. This was a victory of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who came into conflict on the issue with the already elected European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and representatives of Poland and the Baltic countries. All of them did not want to see a Russian "dove" on the key post. However, according to the Italian press, Angela Merkel's support of the candidate played a crucial role in the election. Federica Mogerini, 41, is a diplomat with 20 years of experience, first as a political scientist, then a curator of peace settlement in the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan. In her interview for the Carrera de la Sera, she said that Europe faces two challenges - escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the return of foreign fighters to Europe from the Middle East." Mogerini believes that the President of Ukraine "violates obligations and goes against the interests of his people." Yet, "the only way to resolve the conflict in Ukraine is diplomacy and not a military solution, which simply does not exist." Ukraine can choose association with the EU, but it is important neither to harm nor to threaten Russia, the Italian official believes.

The position of the President of the European Council - the highest political body of the EU - previously taken by Dutchman Herman Van Rompuy, will now belong to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Tusk is the founder and leader of the liberal party Civic Platform (CP) that has won the parliamentary elections twice. Tusk has been leading the government of Poland for seven years. He is a historian by education, an activist of Solidarity. Again, CP is a part of the bloc of right-centrist people's parties of the European Parliament, along with CDU/CSU of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Euronews noticed that it was Merkel, who persuaded Tusk to take the post.  According to the German press, the Polish prime minister "is easy to grow" for Frau Chancellor. In a nutshell, he has always done and will do what Merkel says. "The EU position on the Ukrainian conflict must be bold, but not radical," Tusk said on Saturday. He further announced that he would seek unity of the Union in this case. "This is a sign for the Ukrainians that the European Union will be with them. This is also a sign for Russia meaning that the EU is committed to protecting Ukraine," Stephen Mull, the United States Ambassador to Poland said in an interview with Radio Gdansk.

Here is another point of view. "In my opinion, the choice (for Russia) is more positive than negative, - Pyotr Isgenderov, a senior fellow at the Institute of Slavic Studies told Pravda.Ru. - Donald Tusk, against the backdrop of the Polish political landscape, is the most pro-Russian figure, given sentiments at the Polish political elite. Tusk has always been a counterweight to the party of Kaczynski brothers Law and Justice. He has always advocated the development of cooperation with Russia, especially economic and trade cooperation. In addition, Tusk had a fairly balanced position in relation to the tragedy of Lech Kaczynski's aircraft, Russian-led politics on post-Soviet space, and other "very painful issues for the Russian-Polish relations. Thus, the figure of Donald Tusk is rather neutral, especially in this volatile political field in Poland. In his new position, he will most likely stand up for the preservation and restoration of trade and economic relations between the EU and Russia."

As for Federico Mogerini, the Russian expert believes that she has established herself as a supporter of more balanced politics of the EU in relation to Russia. In particular, Mogerini has repeatedly condemned unilateral anti-Russian sanctions, emphasizing the need for Brussels to negotiate with Moscow and not to make economic cooperation, including in the energy sector, dependent on political differences. Mogerini's appointment suggests that the EU, in my opinion, begins to move away from the anti-Russian position and seeks to find common ground with Russia, probing the ground for cooperation. More moderate forces take the lead at the EU under the guidance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who calls on all parties to the Ukrainian crisis to negotiate," concluded the expert.

At the most recent EU summit, Poroshenko and Obama failed to put pressure on  Europe, and now they will try to do it again at the NATO summit, on September 3-4 in Wales.

Lyuba Lulko

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov