New EU Council Chief Hints New Approach to Russia

Written by | Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland between 2007 and 2014 and new President of the European Council since the beginning of December, argues that the European Union should come up with a long term strategy to Russia. In response to the latest sanctions against Moscow, Donald Tusk did not miss the chance to present his own view on how taming Russia should look like. “We must go beyond being reactive and defensive. As Europeans, we must regain our self-confidence and realize our own strength,” Mr. Tusk said. These comments hinted a new wind in the EU’s foreign policy towards Russia despite the fact that more and more EU member states are getting reluctant to continue sanctioning Russia due to their own economic troubles at home.

The anti-Kremlin sanctions that Brussels has recently adopted are the first since September. The new batch includes limits on investments in Crimea. In the meantime and partly due to sanctions, the ruble is collapsing and the Russian economy is heading into a deep recession. Last week, European leadership looked united in its future approach to Russia saying that the sanctions can still be removed if President Putin withdraws his troops from Crimea and seeks an agreement with the Ukrainian government. “The door is always open if Russia changes its behavior,” British Prime Minister David Cameron added. Moreover, the EU leaders recently published a statement in which they promised more help to Ukraine along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to prevent the collapse of the country’s economy. In order to get more financial assistance, Kiev must adopt political reforms.

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