EU sides with Britain in the Skripal affair
At the EU summit in Brussels the heads of state and government have backed Britain's position that Russia was likely behind the Salisbury nerve agent attack. The EU has now recalled its ambassador to Moscow for consultations and a number of states are considering withdrawing their national ambassadors and expelling Russian diplomats. How far should solidarity with London go?
Unity through external enemies
The EU member states are teaming up on the Skripal affair, writes the Romanian service of German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, criticising at the same time their lack of unity on other matters:
“After this summit it was clear how difficult it is for the European Union to come up with a halfway solid foreign policy. At the same time it was even more clear than on other opportunities how effective the rhetorical solidarity is at creating an artificial unity against 'external threats' and above all minimising the EU's true problems - for instance the ideological gap between East and West, the topic of migration or the two-speed Europe. The EU is focussing more and more on its external enemies in a bid to make people forget how divided it is internally.”
Solidarity good for the Brexit climate?
What will come after the declarations of solidarity with the British at the EU summit? the Irish Times asks:
“The unambiguous support for the stand taken by the British government in response to the outrageous attack launched on their territory was the least a good neighbour should do in the circumstances. The question for the Government in Dublin now is whether to go beyond verbal support and expel some of the personnel based at the Russian embassy in Dublin. ... A potentially beneficial side effect of the alarming stand-off with Russia is that the solidarity with the UK shown by almost all of the EU states may have the effect of improving the atmosphere for the talks on Brexit.”
No one wants another cold war
The soon-to-be post-Brexit EU has no interest in a real break with Russia, Izvestia writes:
“Europe isn't ready for the new cold war with Russia and its allies which Britain is seeking. ... It's not that no one in Europe is open to May's conclusions. It's simply that they don't fit in with the current situation: Trump has declared what amounts to a trade war on the EU, and in Russia Putin has won the elections with an incontestable majority. Making relations with Russia - which are already tricky enough - even more complicated is something nobody wants.”