Weak Foreign Policy, Internal Divisions Reportedly Caused EU to Be Left Out of US-NATO-Russia Talks
16:35 GMT 06.01.2022 (Updated: 04:33 GMT 07.01.2022)
The security talks were organised by Russia and the US because of tensions concerning Ukraine and the ever-increasing NATO presence near the Russian border. Russia will hold several rounds of talks, including one with NATO. But the EU as a bloc was not included to discuss the security issues in Europe.
A lack of foreign policy clout on the EU's part is one of the reasons the bloc was sidelined in forthcoming security talks held by the US, NATO, and Russia, the Financial Times has reported citing unnamed officials. They added that lack of unity within the bloc on crucial matters was another reason.
The EU namely failed to find common ground on how to handle the alleged threat of Russia
invading Ukraine (which Moscow had strongly ruled out) and prepare a statement of the EU's cooperation with NATO – months in the making, according to the officials.
"This is not a theoretical exercise right now, it is about real threats. In the current context, [the delay over issuing the statement] exposes the divisions inside the union and makes us less able to respond to Russia as one", an unnamed senior EU government minister told FT.
The EU was "frustrated" by being excluded
from the security talks, the Financial Times
reported. The bloc demanded it be allowed to take part in the negotiations that will touch upon the issues around the Ukraine crisis and broader security issues in Europe, FT
added. Washington, however, made no attempt to include the EU in the dialogue.
The report comes as Brussels' foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, stated that the EU "cannot be a neutral spectator in the negotiations", which will affect the future of the security of the European continent.
Some EU members chose to go a different path, seeking direct bilateral contacts with Russia instead, FT pointed out. The German chancellor's adviser on foreign policy, Jens Plötner, and French president's diplomat adviser, Emmanuel Bonne, will arrive in Moscow this week for meetings with Russian officials. Although the goal of their visit is unclear, they will travel to Ukraine afterwards.
The security talks will kick off on 10 January, when American and Russian representatives will meet to discuss security guarantees. On 12 January, the Kremlin will be discussing security in Europe with NATO representatives in Brussels.
Moscow has already forwarded its proposals to Washington, including the need to prevent further NATO eastward expansion, the inclusion of Ukraine into the alliance, and mutual non-deployment of missiles previously banned by the INF Treaty near each other's borders.