Macron and Putin table meeting mocked by hosts
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Daniel Goffart, Chief reporter at German magazine Wirtschaftswoche, warned: “There is a great danger that Washington and Moscow will then make decisions going over the heads of the EU states to their detriment”, especially in the area of sanctions policy. Goffart’s warning comes after the meeting of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with the French President, Emmanuel Macron and Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday, following the former’s trip to the US, amid intensified threat of a Russian invasion in Ukraine.
The journalist, who is also the author of Ursula Von Der Leyen’s biography, claims that the pressure is felt across the EU, and that bloc is being left behind in the diplomacy discussions.
He said: “It is high time that the Europeans got actively involved in crisis diplomacy again and do not leave the talks to the Russians and Americans alone”.
According to Goffart, EU’s anxiety follows internal tension over “ongoing infringement proceedings against Poland, because the government in Warsaw is undermining the independence of the judiciary and the press with its restrictive laws.”
The agitation against Poland has led to repetitive postponements of crucial meetings of the so-called ‘Weimar Triangle’ – German, France and Poland, however, “under the pressure (the countries) are moving closer together again.”
Goffart explains that “on the one hand, they want to show Russia that the three big EU countries are reacting together to the aggression from Moscow.”
“On the other hand, France currently holds the EU Council Presidency, Germany the G-7 and Poland currently chairs the OSCE,” so they need to come together and protect their interests.
According to Goffart’s analysis, Olaf Scholz has discussed with President Joe Biden over sanctions that should take effect in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, during his trip to the US.
He added: “Scholz made it clear with Biden that the Western allies had been closely coordinating for a long time to discuss possible sanctions.”
Besides, Goffart said that “there are still considerable disagreements behind the scenes” on economic sanctions, as well as regarding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline dispute.
Goffart says that Scholz’s team is working together with the US on a list of sanctions to be put in place in the event of a Russian attack, while work appears to be underway to expand the penalties imposed on Russia in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea.
The list of sanctions appears to be going on, however, Goffart says that “nothing is decided yet.”
At the same time, according to Wirtschaftswoche, the US demands that Germany stops Nord Stream 2 although nothing has yet been made public about a cessation of Russian-American oil supplies, and Joe Biden refused to respond to a question in the press conference with Scholz.
Goffart added: “The US’ declared goal is to replace Russia as a gas supplier in Europe.
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“Washington can use it to weaken Moscow, divert billions of euros and it would be a good deal for them. In addition, not everyone in Berlin feels comfortable with the idea of being dependent on the USA in the future.
“Berlin has no illusions about the US government’s intentions.”
Sanctions seem to be discussed in the technology sector too, according to Wirtschaftswoche, and “the Europeans, especially German companies, are much more affected than US companies.
“The threat of sanctions sometimes has enormous economic consequences for Europe.”
Gaffort concluded that these possible consequences also explain Emmanuel Macron’s long discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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