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EU-Russia security committee pleads Weimar triangle


(B2) It was in the cool, under the trees of the Quai d'Orsay (charming place, see photo) that the foreign ministers of the French (B. Kouchner), German (K. Westerwelle) and Polish Weimar triangle (R. Sikorski) met on Wednesday. Triangle, I should say rectangle. Because there was a fourth thief at the table. And what a thief! : Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “ The partnership with Russia is a strategic objective of the EU, it is not at all, on the contrary, a dividing factorn” said Bernard Kouchner at the end of the meeting.

On the discussion menu

The question of Kaliningrad and visas for Russians, Khighizstan — where the European Union with the OSCE is preparing decisions (1) —; and European security. Mention was thus made of the recent German proposal, made during the bilateral summit between the two countries at the beginning of June, to create an EU-Russia committee responsible for resolving major issues, particularly security. According to Medvedev, the other participants would have agreed again with this idea. In fact, it seems rather that there is an agreement for a discussion forum to resolve 'in a global manner' the frozen conflicts on the margins of the EU: in Transnistria, as in Nagorno Karabakh, or in Bosnia. Germans and Russians would thus be in favor of a reinforced European presence in Transnistria (2) — this self-proclaimed independent republic in eastern Moldova. “ We have to propose together, with other EU members and other foreign ministers, these elements (for the global settlement) which must be taken up by the European Union clarified Bernard Kouchner.

An EU-Russia committee: a good idea?

Undeniably, yes. Because it is more than urgent that Europeans and Russians agree, directly, without intermediaries, and without the presence of third parties, on certain fundamental questions affecting their security. But also an oh-so-perverse idea. There is no doubt that the creation of this committee also has the objective (on the Russian side) on the one hand of reducing the importance of the NATO-Russia committee which suffered during the Georgian war. Russia has always pursued the idea of ​​a Europe autonomous from the American continent, closer to Moscow than to Washington. And all his efforts are in this direction. For Russia, it is also a question of gaining a foothold in a certain way in the EU, of being able to influence its decisions. At the OSCE or the UN where decisions are made by consensus, it can block certain decisions. Not to the EU… except through loyal allies (Italy and Germany in the lead). If the EU decides to set up such a committee or a similar idea, it will have to be careful not to fall into this trap.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

  1. Kyrgyzstan: COPS discusses European commitment
  2. Strengthened European presence in Transnistria

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).