"Our common objective should be to re-establish a cooperative pan-European security order. I hope that you will use your fourth term in office to pursue this goal. I will always be a partner in this endeavor," EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in his congratulatory letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
EU politicians have been quick to react angrily to Juncker's move on their Twitter pages, with some slamming it as a "disgraceful act" – something that was echoed by an array of ordinary Twitter users.
Jean-Claude Juncker has sparked international fury by telling Putin he will always be a partner in a congratulatory phone call..— happy hammer (@brooking1980) 21 марта 2018 г.
Jean Claude Juncker could have finally made himself useful if he had refused to congratulate Putin on his election victory— Harry Worcester (@HarryWorcester) 22 марта 2018 г.
It is no surprise that Juncker would congratulate Putin because like Putin, the EU does not believe in the idea of democracy!— Callum Hough (@callumhough) 20 марта 2018 г.
"This is a disgraceful letter from @JunckerEU. The European Commission President is appeasing a man who poses a clear threat to western security," says @Ashleyfoxmep. Read his full response here ➡️ https://t.co/h2r9NDzy5z pic.twitter.com/XypNwnB8V2— Conservative MEPs (@ConMEPs) 20 марта 2018 г.
This is no time for congratulations. We will always need dialogue with Russia, but closer ties must be conditional on respect for the rules based international order & fundamental values https://t.co/iVfhLB6TrL— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) 20 марта 2018 г.
Others, however, refused to join the chorus of criticism by signaling their support for Juncker's congratulations to Putin.
Why shouldn't Juncker congratulate putin? Most of the Russians voted for hm, stuffed ballot or not.— Charles The Artist ✍ (@CharlesDrumley) 21 марта 2018 г.
Why so much discussion on Trump's congratulations?— Vitalie Diaconu (@VitalieDiaconu) 21 марта 2018 г.
True, many shortcomings with these elections, but it is a normal practice for politicians to congratulate each other. Most Western leaders congratulated Putin, including Merkel, Macron, Steinmeier, Juncker, UN SG
Earlier this week, 81-year-old US Senator John McCain harshly criticized President Donald Trump over his congratulations to the Russian President.
Several US media outlets reported that Trump extended his congratulation to Putin despite the warnings of multiple advisers and a note in his briefing telling him not to congratulate his Russian counterpart.
"Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing," Trump said on his Twitter page when commenting on his congratulations to Putin, who gained more than 76 percent of the vote in the March 18 presidential elections in Russia.