Viewing cable 04BRUSSELS5159
Title: EU ENLARGEMENT DRIVES GRADUAL HARDENING IN EU

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04BRUSSELS51592004-12-07 16:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Brussels
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
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