Poland and Germany together for Georgia - Gazeta Wyborcza

09:49, 01 September 2008
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PM Tusk and Chancellor Merkel have reached a deal

PM Tusk and Chancellor Merkel have reached a deal: the EU is to build its footholds in the Caucasus. `It`s the best possible response to Russia`s doings in the region`, diplomats say, according to Gazeta Wyborcza.

The best reaction to Russia`s doings in the region will be the EU`s strong entrance to the former Soviet republics considered by Russia its exclusive zone of influence. Nothing will hurt Russia more than being squeezed out from that field, diplomats say.

`Poland and Germany have drawn conclusions from the strife over the war in Iraq. Those divisions must not repeat themselves`, a German diplomat says.

During the last couple of days Mr Tusk and Ms Merkel talked on the phone several times. `Ms Merkel suggested to activate Eastern Partnership, the Polish-proposed eastern policy strategy adopted by the EU in June. According to the Germans, it perfectly fits the situation`, a Polish diplomat says.

Within the Easter Partnership framework, the EU is to support the modernisation and democratisation of Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and conditionally, Belarus. Today the programme could be use to aid Georgia`s reconstruction effort.

These arrangements mean, Gazeta`s sources believe, that Germany has changed its view on the war in Georgia - until now it seemed that, like Paris, Berlin would confine itself to condemning the presence of Russian troops in Georgia and categorically opposing Moscow`s recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Poland also wants for Ukraine to be granted special political guarantees on its future Nato membership, as well as military ones. PM Tusk spoke about that with his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko Saturday.

Poland is also to propose at the EU`s upcoming summit in Brussels for the EU to tighten its cooperation with Azerbaijan - the major oil producer can be the next target of Russia`s policy of consolidating its zone of influence.

`The idea is to use Eastern Partnership to pull Azerbaijan out of the Russian zone`, a member of the Polish delegation told Gazeta.

`This is a breakthrough. The Germans have admitted for the first time that we are better versed in what`s going on beyond the EU`s eastern border. Earlier the talk was chiefly of Warsaw`s anti-Russian phobias`, Polish diplomats say. `Something has happened that we long postulated. The two countries will permanently anchor Europe in the east`, German officials add.

`Since the outbreak of the war we`ve been in constant touch, exchanging information, calling the European capitals`, a Polish diplomat says. Warsaw intervened when, following the Russian invasion of Georgia, German deputy foreign minister Gernot Erler said he understood the Russians and blamed the Georgians. Berlin eventually backtracked from those words.

Most recently, Chancellor Merkel asked Donald Tusk to call Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to help change Rome`s pro-Russian stance.

The EU leaders are unlikely to raise sanctions against Russia at the Brussels summit. Poland will certainly not call for them. Mr Tusk says in his interview for Newsweek, published today, `We don`t want a situation where Poland has the worst relations with Russia of all the EU member states`.

Instead, the PM will urge the EU to build a common energy policy and diversify its energy supplies so that no more than 30 percent of the given commodity is supplied by a single country. Today the EU`s dependence on Russian oil and gas is heavier than that.

Tłumaczenie Marcin Wawrzyńczak

Źródło: Gazeta Wyborcza

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