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With Russia, let's be a little subtle, please (François Hollande)

(credit: Elysee)
(credit: Elysee)

(BRUSSELS2) During the last European summit, François Hollande did not hesitate to attack those who had rushed to make neighborhood policy and the association agreement the alpha and omega of foreign policy in the “Eastern” borders of the European Union. It's polite but still precise. Basically, you have to think before you act. Be a little more subtle. In other words, a little less clumsy and a little more intelligent. The commissioner in charge of this policy, the Czech Stefan Füle, like the president of the European Commission, José-Manuel Barroso, architects of this association policy are thus coming out dressed for winter...

Know what is useful...and what is not

Questioned by B2, on May 27, the French president began by striking a small spade. « Il is important to know what is useful. And what can sometimes be a factor of uncertainty. » In case we are perplexed about the meaning of this presidential maxim, François Hollande clarifies. In the case of Ukraine, “lthe association agreement could not be as comprehensive as it was presented (...) There arewas a form of dilemma that was posed to the Ukrainian authorities at the time: to be either in the association agreement or in the customs union desired by Russia ". It's not " what caused the crisis in Ukraine " of course ! But, for all that, we must stop burying our heads in the sand.

Find more subtle formulas

IL " we must allow Ukraine to have the association agreement (with the EU)” on the one hand, “and to dialogue to avoid any separatism and to have relations with Russia " the other. As for the other agreements in progress, in the neighboring countries, care should be taken not to repeat this kind of nonsense. Specifically " with Armenia”. “Everyone knows his (particular) connection with Russia. Maybe it should find more subtle formulas. In the future, this is what we will have to look for, more subtle formulas ».

The president also commented in the same style on the EU's defense policy, and more generally on foreign policy. Details to read about the Club: Foreign policy, one of the five priorities of the future Commission

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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).

One thought on “With Russia, let's be a little subtle, please (François Hollande)"

  • Giraud Jean-Guy

    It is high time for the “neighborhood policy” to be strategically and functionally decoupled from the EU's “enlargement strategy”. It was a mistake to confuse these two notions and to entrust them to the same Commissioner and the same DG. It is not certain that the new Commission should keep a portfolio and a service dedicated to enlargement. But it is obvious that the neighborhood policy must be managed by the External Action Service under the authority of the High Representative. It is equally clear that a pause in enlargement must be observed during the term of office of the next Commission. This is, moreover, one of the lessons to be learned from the European elections: public opinion is becoming more and more detached from an EU that is constantly expanding and therefore increasingly distant and “foreign”. JGG

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