THE EUROPEAN UNION’S frenzied drive for an ‘ever closer union’ and a federalist superstate could risk igniting further friction between Russia and the West, a former British ambassador has warned.
Sir Tony Brenton also suggested that a watered down version of the EU in favour of a looser free trade area could pave the way for Russia to barge into the international fold, ending the current stand-off between European nations and Vladimir Putin.
Relations between Russia and the EU have been particularly frayed in recent months due to the crisis in Ukraine.
However, Sir Brenton, a former British ambassador to Russia, has suggested that if the EU was a “different sort of organisation” where the rules are not so strict, then Russia could shock by showing interest in joining the 28-member bloc.
Suggesting that Moscow becoming part of the EU is a “very distant” but not necessarily impossible prospect, Sir Tony argued that Russia would be keen on benefiting from the free trade that a looser version of the organisation could provide – and the subsequent financial gain the relationship could bring.
And if Moscow ever join the EU, Sir Tony predicted that Russia “would bargain hard for what they see as their national interest”.
However, he stressed that one giant obstacle standing in the way of Russia joining would be the “thousands of pages of rules” that Moscow would be reluctant to agree to.
Sir Tony, who spent four years as an ambassador and met President Putin on several occasions, said: “There was lots of talk, at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, of Russia joining various Western organisations – including NATO at the time.
“And if Russia got its economy sorted out, it became a bit more democratic, then the case of Russia being a European state in all that becomes quite strong. The Russians think of themselves as European.”
“But a lot depends on what happens to the EU. If the EU continues to try to develop towards a European superstate, then I think the prospects are zero because Russia would never want to be part of a superstate.
“If on the other hand, the EU weakened and became much more of a loosely-bound, free trade area, then it becomes easier to imagine Russia joining.”
Full article: EU bid for FEDERAL SUPERSTATE will provoke Russia against the West, warns ambassador (Express)