Prague, Aug 16 (CTK) – Monday’s talks of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the Urals demonstrated the fact that Germany is the sole EU country having its own notions of European politics, Zbynek Petracek writes in Lidove noviny (LN) yesterday.
He asks why Germany and not the EU is now negotiating with Russia. The EU institutions represent half a billion people, while Steinmeier only 80 million. The answer is that Germany seems to be the sole force in the EU that is capable of action.
The summer holiday of the German government ended at the weekend and immediately on Monday, Steinmeier set out on the journey to Russia. Why is not this done by Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk and Federica Mogherini? Petracek asks.
He writes that Germany’s activitiy makes it possible for it to be pushing through what it itself deems important.
Petracek writes that this brings back one-year-old events. At the end of October 2015, European Commission President Juncker said the Dublin Regulation on asylum granting in the EU is no longer operable.
It was two months after German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself suspended the Dublin system, and despite the European rules fully opened the German border to migrants, Petracek writes.
He asks why the European institutions were so slow in reacting to the situation and writes that this was probably so because they still had their holiday in August.
This is probably also why in August 2016, at a time marked by tension between the West and Russia over Syria and Ukraine, it was Steinmeier, not Juncker who went to Russia, Petracek writes.
He writes that Steinmeier went to Yekaterinburg where he offered Russians an improvement in relations in 2008 already and addressed students at the university that granted him an honorary doctor’s degree in 2010.
True, this should not generate illusions that this will produce any improvement. For this, the feeling of Vladimir Putin’s Russia that it is being harmed and its belief that all evil comes from the West are too strong. Yet, Steinmeier’s trip is indicative of something, Petracek writes.
Irrespective of all circumstances, one thing is true, however. When it comes to the crunch, Germany, not the EU is Moscow’s partner in Europe, Petracek writes.