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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04BRUSSELS5159 2004-12-07 16:39:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Brussels
Cable title:  

EU ENLARGEMENT DRIVES GRADUAL HARDENING IN EU

Tags:   PGOV PREL RS PL LH NL UK GM IT FR EUN USEU BRUSSELS 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRUSSELS 005159 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/ERA, EUR/R

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/06/2014
TAGS: PGOV PREL RS PL LH NL UK GM IT FR EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: EU ENLARGEMENT DRIVES GRADUAL HARDENING IN EU
RUSSIA POLICY

REF: A. BRUSSELS 5063


B. THE HAGUE 3094

C. WARSAW 5120

Classified By: USEU POLOFF EMAZUR FOR REASONS 1.4 (B, D)



1. (C) Summary: The November 25 EU-Russia summit reflected a
shift in the EU,s approach to Russia toward a tougher, more
disciplined policy, a process that began following what many
Member States viewed as Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's
pandering to Russian President Putin at the 2003 summit. The
shift is likely to continue in response to the increased
friction between Brussels and Moscow over Ukraine, other
regional issues, and trends inside Russia. Some EU officials
question the EU's premise that it is possible to build a
relationship with Russia based on shared fundamental values.
Lastly, the Baltic and Central European countries that joined
the EU last May argue that the EU at 25 should be a tougher
negotiator with Moscow than it was at 15. These various
factors are likely to result in a gradual hardening of EU
policy toward Russia rather than a dramatic change of
approach -- largely because major members will resist a
tougher policy that they fear could damage their bilateral
relations with Moscow. End Summary

New Members Want an Assertive EU Approach(


--------------------------





2. (C) The EU's enlargement in May brought in several
Central European and Baltic states who share a strong
interest in pursuing a tough Russia policy. As they have
begun to assert themselves within EU institutions, they have
pushed for a greater EU focus and assertiveness toward
Russia. Their intense interest in Russia has led some
veteran EU members to complain of a single-minded focus that
puts Russia on the EU agenda "day and night." Diplomats from
the new Member States tell us that they seek a more equitable
EU-Russia relationship in which Russia delivers as much as
the EU does. These diplomats fault the EU for being too
passive and undisciplined, allowing Moscow to drive the
direction of the relationship. Instead, the Poles and others
argue the EU should adopt a more consistent approach that
would press Moscow to respect human rights and the rule of
law, and create a transparent business climate. They also
question whether the EU recognizes and is able to take
advantage of its leverage over Moscow, which includes
providing markets for Russian resources and access to the
Kaliningrad exclave.

(But Hesitate To Drive The Policy


--------------------------





3. (C) According to Czech Ambassador to the EU's Political
and Security Committee (PSC) Jan Kohout and Polish First
Secretary Cezary Bardzinski (protect both), the new Member

SIPDIS
States are concerned that voicing their opinions on Russia
too loudly or often could undermine their credibility among
the EU-15. Instead, they prefer to seek alliances with the
Nordics or the United Kingdom on Russia-related initiatives.
This hesitation comes from the perceived need to master EU
policy-making mechanisms, and the concern that some EU 15
already perceive new members as "hysterically" anti-Russian.
Nevertheless, Lithuanian PSC Ambassador Martikonis (protect)
told us that Lithuania and some other new members are
preparing to table more assertive proposals shortly, adding
that he believed he was "paid to change the EU,s approach to
Russia."

Some Veteran Member States Resist Change


--------------------------





4. (C/NF) Nevertheless, new members have to confront France,
Italy, and Germany, who will use their influence within the
EU to moderate the speed and the extent of a shift. Some EU
diplomats in Brussels complain that Berlin, Rome, and Paris
are more interested in maintaining strong bilateral ties with
Russia than in pressing Moscow on human rights issues. UK
First Secretary Victoria Courtney (protect) acknowledged to
us UK "frustration" with Chirac's and Schroeder's close
bilateral relationships with Putin, saying London "felt let
down" by their primary focus on the strategic partnership at
the expense of other issues, such as human rights or
democracy. Additionally, Martikonis acknowledged he was
concerned that Germany and France might be willing to
compromise on points important to Lithuania, such as transit
of goods between Kaliningrad and mainland Russia, to maintain
good relations with Russia. Bilateral relations, potential
to undermine a tough common EU policy was also evident in the
run up to the November 25 EU-Russia summit, when some Member
States agreed with Moscow's argument that its recent
ratification of the Kyoto and PCA treaties should be met with
EU concessions to Russia, according to the Commission's
Russia desk officer, Michael Miller (protect).


5. (C) In fact, Germany and some other members do not see the
need to change the EU's approach to Russia. They view the
new members as "too sensitive and too focused" on Russia - a
stance that they claim will fade once the new members
"overcome their past," according to Simon. Others consider
the new members too confident in criticizing Russia since
joining the EU, and dismiss them, as did Dutch Trade
Counselor Kees Fraterman, as the "little ones" who enjoy
standing up to Russia from within the EU.



6. (C) Nevertheless, Member States, desire for close
bilateral relations with Russia that allows Moscow to appeal
to Berlin or Paris and circumvent EU positions it dislikes
may have backfired. EU officials insist that recent
significant breaches of common EU policy have forced a more
disciplined policy to prevent Russia from picking members off
one at a time. For example, Italian Prime Minister
Berlusconi's statements at the 2003 EU-Russia summit in
support of Putin led to the current EU 25 resolution that no
partial agreement on the four common spaces be allowed at the
November 25 EU-Russia summit, a policy that successfully
prevented Russia from cherry-picking its favorite accords.

EU Split Over Russia Unlikely


--------------------------

--



7. (C) Some new Member State diplomats warn that the debate
between those who want to hold Russia accountable for its
human rights violations and those who value a strategic
partnership with Russia above other concerns could lead to a
split within the EU. They caution that Moscow seeks to
discredit the new members as biased &trouble-makers8 unable
to understand the overarching EU-Russia relationship.
Indeed, RELEX Deputy Director General Michael Leigh admitted
that the EU was vulnerable to Moscow's efforts to divide
Member States, and told us that the Commission had to work
hard to keep a harmonized policy in place.



8. (C) Most veteran (and some new Member State) officials
agree, however, that a split over Russia is unlikely.
Instead, they argue that an evolutionary process will lead to
a slightly more hard-nosed approach than at present.
Moscow's recent unhelpful positions on such troubling issues
as the Ukrainian election, the Katyn massacre, Warsaw
uprising, transit of goods to Kaliningrad, or
Russian-speaking minorities in Latvia and Estonia increase
the anxiety of those new member states with an unhappy
history with Russia, but they also help unify the EU around a
tougher policy. For example, Moscow's resistance to
acknowledging that the EU has legitimate interests in
Russia's "near abroad" only solidified EU consensus behind
its new neighborhood policy.



9. (C) Comment: By bringing in countries that advocate a
tougher EU policy toward Russia, EU enlargement has
contributed to the forces that were already working to harden
EU positions*the recognition of the need for better policy
discipline, and the negative trends in Russian democracy. As
a result, the shift is more pronounced than would be the case
from the enlargement alone. The dispute over the recent
Ukrainian election has additionally highlighted competing
European and Russian ideas about democracy, leading some to
question whether the EU can build a relationship with Russia
and Putin based on shared values.



10. (C) Comment Continued: -Whatever influence the new
members have, the EU policy is likely to evolve by consensus
that will take into account the vested interests of some
major Member States in maintaining a more accommodating
policy toward Russia. But to some of the new EU members,
Russia is too important a neighbor to allow what they view as
an ineffective EU policy to stand unchanged.

McKinley